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Summary:

In a week when all eyes were on a phone found in a bar, Dell has been leaking information about its mobile roadmap. The company is committed to the Android platform, but not exclusively as the Lightning with Windows Phone 7 demonstrates. We’re watching, Dell.

Dell Streak

In a week when all eyes were on a phone found in a bar, Dell has been leaking information about its mobile roadmap. Dell looks to make a splash in this space this year as details about several phones and handheld devices would indicate. The company looks committed to the Android platform, but not exclusively as the Lightning with Windows Phone 7 demonstrates.

The Dell Lightning is the first look we’ve gotten of a real handset running Windows Phone 7, and it looks like a dandy. The Snapdragon processor, which seems to be rapidly becoming the standard against all other are judged, is running a 4.1-inch OLED screen that looks gorgeous in the leaked photos. The Lightning is a portrait slider with a QWERTY keyboard which will make quite a few folks happy. In addition to all of the hardware goodness packed in the Lightning, leaked details indicate it will get an LTE upgrade in the last quarter of this year. Oh my, the Dell Lightning is looking mighty tasty.

Several Android phones are in the works by Dell, including the Thunder which has a hardware design that looks similar to the Lightning without the slider and with Android on board. The Thunder is reported to also have a 4.1-inch display, and Dell is following HTC’s route by putting its own shell on top of Android to make it distinguishable from the competition. The “Stage” UI follows a familiar route by integrating social networking into the UI, in a very attractive package. The Thunder is also reported to be coming in an LTE version late this year.

Dell is not forgetting those looking for a cheaper, simpler phone, as the Flash proves. This handset will have a slower processor and more sedate design, but with the same Android and Stage UI as the Thunder. There will be a smaller 3.5-inch screen on the Flash, and all of the standard features one expects in a smartphone. The Flash is expected in early 2011.

We have been teased by Dell with handheld Android tablets for quite some time, but haven’t seen any hit the market yet. That teasing has been cranked up to a high level with new information about the Dell Streak, the 5-inch handheld tablet that is now reported to get the latest version of Android in September. This news is exciting as it may mean we’ll actually be able to buy one of these puppies soon. The Streak is looking mighty fine with its dual cameras hinting at video conferencing. There is also a 7-inch Looking Glass model mentioned in the Dell documents.

A big shout out to our friends at Engadget for getting all of this “secret” information about Dell’s mobile roadmap. We understand no German beer was involved, which is no small feat.

Image credit: Engadget

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  1. I wonder if, like many manufacturers, Dell is going to spread its efforts over too many devices, rather than having one or two hyped up ‘killer’ devices. Even amongst techies, I wonder how many read this article and thought, YES! I must have one of those. Not many I bet.

    Certainly the tech looks sound, but as we know from a fruit themed company, it’s all about building up hype and instilling techno lust in buyers.

  2. I keep thinking, as cool and as light as my Palm Pre and iPod Touch are, I’d really like a device with a bigger screen. How much bigger depends on the OS. I’m still (yes, still) on the fence about the Viliv S5 because all the software assumes larger screens, finer navigation, and younger eyes than I have.

    Depending on battery life and other support, these actually sound like the direction I’d like to see the market at least offer.

  3. A very impressive set of leaks to say the least! Windows Phone 7 (I’m with the crowd who is glad they changed the name) may actually make a splash this fall after all.

  4. Dell has gotten the message: the primary computing platform for most of us will not be the desktop, laptop, notebook, netbook, or even the tablet, but the device we carry around most of the time: the cellphone.

    It’s good to see Dell has like HTC tacked on it’s own customized UI. Android as good as it is isn’t quite ready for prime time for the “casual” smart-phone user in its raw form. I hoped to see a review of the new Dell/Android UI soon. By the way, other blogs are indicating the “leaked photos” are in fact renders.

    It will also be interesting to see what distribution channels Dell uses for these devices. While I expect them to seek carrier partners, it would be a good step forward if they utilized their established direct sales channels. It would also be nice if these were true world phones.

  5. Timothy Meade (tmzt) Friday, April 23, 2010

    Where is this information on LTE coming from? I know of no support in 8250 or 8650, though it could depend on what RF chipset is used? Would this be a new handset with LTE or the first release of the Lightning?

  6. Brian S Hall Friday, April 23, 2010

    The smartphone is the computer!
    Dell can go extinct making PCs or move into the smartphone market.

    I checked out the Flash specs closely. These are all pretty good efforts out of the gate but not as good as HTC’s best or the iPhone. The Lightning could give Windows (mobile 7) a bit more life than I would have expected.

  7. Adrian Jenkins Saturday, April 24, 2010

    The Android handsets will be very nice, and it’s good to see Dell put most of its efforts into Android.

    The Windows Phone is going to be a disappointment. It will have very little software, and the software it does have will be just very simple stuff. The platform can’t take more at this time (It will take Microsoft about 2 years to improve the APIs.)

    1. Have you seen the videos of the office or email on windows phone 7?

      The UI is gorgeous and looks pretty usable to me. The email definitely looks better than what i’ve experienced with the iphone and the office software looks actually something close to usable. Something I can’t say about existing solutions on other existing solutions across other platforms (though to be fair, i’m yet to use iworks on the ipad. It’s not on sale where i’m from yet).

      Fair point MS has a (very) late start in this regard, but what the device is coming packed with looks quite comprehensive so far and very well made.

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