Today, The Toronto Globe and Mail has an article in which Anthony Bonadero, director of worldwide mobile products for Dell, talks about his company’s handheld plans. According to The Globe and Mail, Dell will officially announce a low-end and a mid-range handheld running Pocket PC 2002 on November 18. (Dell now has a preview page for its Axim X5 Pocket PC.) Mr. Bonadero also said Dell is considering becoming a Palm OS licensee at some point in the future.
This isn’t the first time info about these forthcoming models has leaked out. Last month, PDAFrance had details on them, which a Dell spokesperson later said were correct, if preliminary. According to this report, one model will have a 300 MHz XScale processor and 32 MB of RAM and the other a 400 MHz XScale processor and 64 MB of RAM. Both will have dual slots — SD/MMC and CompactFlash type II, 320 by 240 screens, and jog dials. According to CNet, the 300 MHz one will cost $199 while other will be $299.
Mr. Bonadero didn’t confirm these prices but he did say his company’s handhelds would be priced very aggressively. “Using our [supply chain] efficiencies, Dell can produce and sell them for significantly less, and that’s what we are going to do.”
Dell is looking to take a serious piece of the handheld market. It will have 15,000 units available at the launch later this month and plans to make 100,000 by the end of January 2003. “Our goal for 2003 is to have at least a 25% market share,” said Mr. Bonadero.
The company isn’t skimping on the screen. “One of our design requirements was that it had to have a premium-quality screen,” Mr. Bonadero said.
Sources at Dell told The Globe and Mail that these handhelds will have a battery life in the 8 to 12 hour range.
According to Mr. Bonadero, Dell will release more new models in January of 2003. He also said his company plans to release a color model some time next year that will be less than $150.
All these handhelds will run Pocket PC 2002 but Dell apparently hasn’t ruled out releasing Palm OS models, too. “We decided to go with the Pocket PC operating system for our initial entry into this market. But with Palm porting its operating system to the Intel StrongArm architecture, the possibility of us producing a Palm OS-based model is not out of the question for the future.”
Of course, Mr. Bonadero is slightly confused because the Palm OS is available for Intel’s XScale, not StrongARM, but the meaning of what he said is still clear.