Michael Dell Confirms Smartphone for US in 2010


The boss of Dell has confirmed one of the worse kept secrets in the industry, after he revealed that his firm will begin selling an Android smartphone in the US, next year.

Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell has ended the long running speculation over the PC maker’s smartphone ambitions, after he told a reporter of Dell’s plans to market an Android smartphone in the United States sometime early next year.

Dell made his revelation in a separate conversation after finishing a 75-minute appearance with the Wall Street Journal’s Don Clark, staged before an audience of about 300 in a dinner program sponsored by the Churchill Club.

For a number of months now, Dell has been rumoured to be readying an agreement to provide its Android-powered smartphone to AT&T for the US market. Dell confirmed this to tech journalist Jean-Baptiste Su of TechPulse and the French News Agency, and told him that it will happen probably in the first months of next year, Su told eWEEK.

Dell launched its mini 3i smartphone last August in partnership with China Mobile, which uses a specially designed version of Google’s Android software called oPhone OS. However, for the US version of this phone, Dell may use an older Android version and make minor user interface and service tweaks, Su wrote in his blog.

Earlier in the evening, Michael Dell had hinted about his company’s ideas for the smartphone business during the conversation with Clark.

“The Internet in your pocket … and new platforms that are coming out are pretty interesting. Some of them resemble things that we’re pretty familiar with, in terms of open systems and the ability to compete in an open ecosystem,” Dell said. “I think you’ll begin to see us show up there, gradually.”

The CEO addressed a number of other topics, including the impending public launch of Microsoft’s Windows 7 (“You’ll love your PC again!”), the 2007 EqualLogic acquisition (“This company had about 3,300 customers when we acquired it; we’ve added 10,000 new customers”), and the increasing dominance of the server in the data centre.

“A lot of what goes on in the data centre is being gobbled up by servers,” Dell said. “We see switching, for example, rapidly collapsing into the servers. You’ve got virtualised switches, but even the switches that aren’t virtualised – they’re now sitting inside blade chassis.

“Not that long ago, it looked like intellligence was getting sucked out of the server and it was going somehow into the network, but actually now it looks like it’s going the other way. The server is becoming the epicenter of the data centre, and you’re seeing the switches get embedded inside the server. I’m sure there are plenty of other opinions out there.”

Increased virtualisation in data centre servers has driven increases in the sales of virtualised storage, Dell said, adding that his company is bullish about the continued growth of the storage market in general.

Dell claimed that the acquisition of EqualLogic has made his company the No. 1 seller of iSCSI SANs, the “fastest growing part of storage [market], and we think that’s a very attractive area.”

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