Dell is preparing to make a big splash in mobile devices, if even a few of the most recently leaked reports are accurate. The reports indicate a high-end Windows Phone 7 smartphone, several smartphones based on the open-source Android operating system, and two Android tablets.
According to information leaked to technology site Engadget, the Windows Phone 7-based Lightning is a portrait slider, meaning the keyboard slides out from the bottom of the rectangle, not from the more customary side. It reportedly is built around a one-GHz Snapdragon processor and has a high-resolution WVGA 4.1-inch OLED screen, AT&T and T-Mobile 3G, a five-megapixel autofocus camera, 512MB of RAM with 1GB of flash memory, and an 8GB MicroSD card.
Where There's Lightning, There's Thunder
The Lightning is attracting attention as one of the slickest smartphones using the new Windows Phone 7 operating system. The model also includes GPS, an accelerometer, a compass, FM radio, and, notably unlike Apple's iPhone, support for Adobe's ubiquitous Flash technology.
Apparently Engadget got ahold of a presentation on the new phone, and it included a screen saying that the Lightning, targeted for release by the fourth quarter, would be upgraded to the 4G ultra-high-speed LTE network technology by the end of next year.
And where there's Lightning, there's Thunder. Sneak previews of Dell's Android-based Thunder smartphone are also surfacing on the web. It reportedly features an eight-megapixel camera, photo editing, a Dell-customized user interface, a 4.1-inch WVGA OLED touchscreen, an integrated Hulu application, tie-ins to Facebook and Twitter, and Flash. Initially, the Thunder will run on AT&T's HSDPA network, with a LTE version planned for the latter part of next year.
Speaking of Flash, another new Dell Android-based smartphone that is being leaked is called Flash. It has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, a five-megapixel camera, and supports the other Flash from Adobe. Like the Flash smartphone, the Dell Smoke is expected to run an upcoming version of Android called Froyo, and both are scheduled for launch next year. And the Android-based Aero, currently on the market in China, is a lower-end smartphone expected to be released in the U.S.
Looking Glass, Streak
Computers have been Dell's forte, and the company is apparently jumping into the hottest category, tablets. The Looking Glass tablet computer, with a seven-inch, 800x480 screen, is also Android-based, will have an optional TV tuner, and is due out in the fourth quarter.
The Android-based Streak tablet, with a five-inch WVGA screen, is the U.S. version of its Mini 5, and it's scheduled for release in late summer.
Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for consumer technology at the NPD Group, said Windows Phone 7 "represents a restart for that market," so this is "a good time" for a brand like Dell to release a high-end, feature-laden smartphone like the Lightning.
He noted that Hewlett-Packard, Dell's chief competitor, is also releasing smartphones and tablets, and both companies can leverage their retail distribution muscle to push out the new product lines.