Dell Faces Hang-ups With Android Smartphone

Dell (s dell) today said it will team with AT&T (s t) to enter the U.S. market with an Android-based smartphone. But the longtime computer vendor could face challenges in making any headway on its home turf.

Dell expanded into mobile two months ago with the Mini 3, an Android-based gadget available in China and Brazil. While the companies offered few details, the new AT&T phone will be a version of the Mini 3 and is expected to debut in the next several months.

The move will mark the first Android phone for AT&T, which will be the last tier-one carrier to offer Google’s (s goog) smartphone operating system. Dell, meanwhile, adds to an impressive list of carrier customers that also includes Vodafone and China Mobile.

But Dell faces an uphill battle as it comes to market in the U.S. It will be tough to draw attention to the Mini 3 among an ever-increasing number of Android handsets, and taking the spotlight away from Google’s new Nexus One and — to a lesser extent — Motorola’s (s mot) Droid from Verizon Wireless (s vz) won’t be easy. Perhaps its biggest challenge, though, will be drawing data-hungry customers to AT&T’s network, which has struggled to handle the congestion of iPhone users. The Mini 3 will not only have to be a compelling device, it will have to be heavily promoted if AT&T and Dell are going to lure users away from the competition — because a good product alone isn’t enough to secure market share in the space, as Palm (s palm) can tell you.

Image courtesy of Dell’s official Flickr page.