Dell to enter smartphone market in China

Dell Inc. today said it plans to start selling a mobile phone in China but has not announced when it will be available.

Despite reports that it had introduced a new product in China, Dell said that it has only confirmed that it is working with China Mobile on a cell phone.

Dell did show some device prototypes, but did not say when it might introduce a phone, said Andrew Bowins, a Dell spokesman.

The computer maker supports China Mobile's Ophone development, which is an open mobile software platform for mobile Internet, Dell said. The company declined to say which operating system its phone would use.

Previous rumors have linked a Lenovo phone running Android with the Ophone name.

Dell was participating in a China Mobile event, where the operator announced its mobile application store, Bowins said.

Rumors of a new phone from Dell have been circulating all year. The computer maker once made a handheld device, the Axim PDA, but canceled it in 2007.

Dell wouldn't comment on whether it intends to introduce a phone in other regions beyond China. If it does, it would be entering an increasingly crowded and competitive market. The introduction of the iPhone, and subsequent challengers including the Palm Pre and Android devices, have changed customer expectations for how smartphones should look and what they should do. Still, the market for cell phones continues to grow and China is the largest cell-phone market in the world, so Dell may be hoping to capitalize on both trends.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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