Dell's Aggressive Mobile Roadmap Includes Multiple Tablets

Dell hopes to improve its chances in the mobile device space by bringing a raft of new phones and tablets to market that offer customers more choice. At least that appears to be the strategy based on what the website Android Central claims is an official Dell roadmap it obtained of the company's product strategy.

A Dell spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the veracity of the roadmap and said the company doesn't comment on rumors, speculation or unannounced products. CEO Michael Dell did say earlier this week in his company's earnings call that Dell planned to introduce 10-inch tablet later this year based on Google's Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" release designed for tablet devices.

According to the leaked documents, Dell is planning to release the Dell Gallo, a Honeycomb tablet, around April of this year. Gallo will be followed by the Dell Sterling (also running Honeycomb) by Q4 of this year. In the first quarter of 2012, Dell plans two more tablet releases, the Dell Opus One and Dell Silver Oak, also both running on Honeycomb.

Android Central's sister site, WPcentral, claims to have Dell's mobile smartphone roadmap as well. The Dell Wrigley, due out this summer, includes a 1GHz processor and 4-inche WVGA screen and an 8 megapixel camera on the back capable of 720p video recording. The site notes that the Wrigley is branded "Windows Phone 7 Next Gen," which implies it will run updated software from Microsoft. Earlier this week at the Mobile World Congress, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, detailed updates coming to the company's mobile platform.

By April, 2012, Dell plans to release another Windows Phone 7 device dubbed the "Dell Venue Pro MLK" with "MLK" possibly referring to a software update.

Analyst Jack Gold said if the reports are true, he's not surprised Dell would offer a variety of mobile products.

"They are trying to do one of everything, Android and Windows, which is consistent with Dell's strategy of offering a lot of choice at competitive prices," Gold, principal analyst with JGold Associates, told InternetNews.com

What's less clear is what added value Dell will bring to the mobile device market where to date it's failed to have much of an impact.

"Dell is searching for a way to not be a me-too in the space," said Gold. "There are a few ways you can do that -- offer a lot of variety, compete on price or offer something no one else has. But only Apple has been able to do that last one really well."

Gold said that the emerging tablet market is impacting sales of notebooks and netbooks and that Dell can't afford not to be in the market or risk seeing Dell customers buy elsewhere.

"Dell's never been very good at software, but Android lets vendors do a lot of customization so maybe it can make some headway this time," said Gold.


David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.



mobile, Dell, smartphone, tablet, hardware