Dell Should Rethink Smartphone Strategy

Dell reportedly will offer an enhanced version of its Dell Mini 3i smartphone, originally intended exclusively for the Chinese market, to carriers and their subscribers in America.

Presuming the CrunchGear report is accurate, I’m not sure what Dell hopes to accomplish with the move.

Even if Dell makes the phone slimmer, gives it a better case, and improves the built-in camera, what is the market niche Dell believes this handset can exploit? It has all the signs of a me-too Android smartphone, with nothing to competitively differentiate it or to make it a must-have item for consumers or business users.

It isn’t enough for Dell to just offer an Android handset. Others can offer the same thing, and many of those vendors have better mobile brands and well-established relationships with wireless operators.

Given Dell’s recent acquisition of Perot Systems and Google’s stated objective of establishing Google Apps as a credible collaboration alternative to Microsoft Office in government and other public-sector verticals, Dell should consider how it could devise a compelling mobile offering — handsets and services — for those market segments.

I bet Google would be happy to provide assistance.

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