Analyst: Dell in smartphone talks with China Mobile

Dell has strongly hinted it plans to launch a smartphone or mobile Internet device

Dell is in talks with China Mobile to offer a smartphone based on the carrier's mobile operating system, a move that would take Dell into a huge but competitive market in China, an analyst said Monday.

The world's number two PC vendor has strongly hinted it plans to offer a smartphone or mobile Internet device, but it has not given any details or said if it will offer such a product in China.

Dell is waiting for China Mobile to pick one or two models from smartphones it has offered and the two firms could reach a deal around August, Zhang Jun, an analyst at research firm Wedge MKI, said in a phone interview.

A Dell smartphone could then hit the Chinese market by the end of the year, Zhang said.

No one from China Mobile was immediately available for comment. A Dell representative in Beijing declined to comment.

The China Mobile OS, known as Open Mobile System (OMS), is based on Google's Android but will include China Mobile applications like the firm's instant messaging client.

OMS will support China Mobile's next-generation mobile network that is expanding coverage beyond major cities this year. The network's standard was developed in China and is called TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access).

China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile carrier, hopes for a flashy Dell addition to currently drab handset offerings that have hurt the take-up of TD-SCDMA so far, Zhang said.

Dell will also offer a TD-SCDMA netbook with the launch of its Inspiron Mini 10 in China this Thursday.

Other firms designing OMS phones include High Tech Computer (HTC), the manufacturer of the G1 smartphone, and Chinese telecommunication equipment providers Huawei and ZTE, Zhang said.

Lenovo Mobile is set this spring to launch the first OMS smartphone, a touchscreen handset called the OPhone, according to research firm BDA.

Lenovo Mobile was sold to a group of investors in January, 2008 by Chinese PC giant Lenovo.

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Owen Fletcher

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