Dell resumes Venue Pro sales; T-Mobile cuts price

Smartphone available again three weeks after Wi-Fi, battery concerns surfaced

Dell today placed its Venue Pro smartphone back on sale again three weeks after halting sales for concerns over Wi-Fi connections and mislabeled batteries .

The Venue Pro, which runs Windows Phone 7 (WP7), will now sell for $99.99 with a two-year wireless contract from T-Mobile USA, or $449.99 unlocked, according to the Dell Web site. That T-Mobile price is $50 below the original Venue Pro price with a service contract, and is half the cost of several other WP7 smartphones , such as the Samsung Focus. The Focus sells for $199 on AT&T.

According to Dell, the $99.99 price is for a new two-year service plan with T-Mobile on an 8GB version of the Venue Pro; the price is $149.99 on a new activation with T-Mobile for the 16GB version.

The vertical slider smartphone features a 4.1-in. WVGA AMOLED touchscreen and a tactile QWERTY keyboard.

Office Mobile applications are built in, but owners can also use the device to play games on Xbox Live.

Dell addressed the Wi-Fi and battery mislabeling concerns three days after the device went on sale in a Nov. 11 blog post , and in a < target="new" href="">second post eight days later.

In the initial blog, Dell said the Wi-Fi problem was a software glitch not related to hardware or the WP7 operating system. The blog also predicted new Venue Pro units would be on sale by Nov. 13. Dell didn't explain the delay on its Web site and officials couldn't be reached for comment.

The Venue Pro problems have been combined with concerns about how well WP7 phones are selling in the U.S. Some analysts cited a lack of enthusiasm by buyers and have wondered why AT&T and T-Mobile are not discussing sales figures more openly. They also noted AT&T's "buy one, get one free" deal for its three WP7 models inside stores over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The Venue Pro problems surfaced just before Dell's top mobile executive Ron Garriques announced plans to leave the company .

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is .

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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