In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that has followed Dell’s attempts to compete in the global smartphone race over the past 2 years, Dell head of consumer development Jeff Clarke has confirmed while speaking at the Dell-produced Dell World employee conference that the computer manufacturer is officially ceasing all development on smartphones and Android, following previous attempts to compete in the now hyper competitive market.
With the official confirmation of Dell’s exit from the smartphone market on the global level, it emphasizes the current state of the market whereby Samsung and Apple are soaking up the majority of profits while smaller manufacturers struggle to carve out a profitable niche and many of them are regularly posting quarterly losses while struggling to compete in terms of marketing and device development.
While Dell started its smartphone business with the poorly received Aero, it looked to carve out its own niche with the first attempts at Android tablets with the Streak 5 and Streak 7 before leaving them to rot on the vine in terms of development due to unforeseen internal issues. In fact, so poor was the support for the Streak series that the carrier versions of the Streak 5 and Streak 7 were not even updated to their last working Android versions in Gingerbread.
On top of those issues with Android, Dell also attempted to support Windows Phone 7 by signing on as one of Microsoft’s preferred launch partners in late 2010, only to botch that release with limited availability of its Venue Pro smartphone, which was exacerbated by firmware issues related to Wi-Fi driver integration causing lower than expected stock as well as intentionally limiting the phone to online sales and sales through dedicated Microsoft stores, causing more stress for those that purchased the phone and had to file returns for the faulty hardware.
All of those issues came to a head earlier this year when rumors started circulating that Dell would indeed abandon smartphone sales in the US, which was subsequently confirmed after an initial denial and shift to the Chinese market, with the expectation that the Chinese market would have proven less competitive and more profitable, which did not turn out to be the case.
Now, the company looks to be refocusing on Windows tablets with the push for 8/RT with the XPS10, XPS12 and Latitude 10 though whether the tablets will aid Dell in its long-running and so far unsuccessful “transformation” initiative remains to be seen, as the reception to both Windows 8 and RT have proven to be less popular than expected by either OEMs or Microsoft.