Dell’s First Cellular-Wireless Device Expected Next Year

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It isn’t unusual for handheld makers to leak information about upcoming products to their largest clients. A Brighthand reader who works for an important Dell customer reports being told by a Dell representative that her company is putting together a device similar to the Treo 600.

There aren’t very many details available on this device. The Dell representative wasn’t there to brief the customer on it, but simply mentioned it during an unrelated conversation.

Smartphone or Handheld?

It isn’t clear whether this will be a smartphone or cellular-wireless handheld. It is known that it will have a small keyboard, not a numberpad.

Last year, a Dell executive said his company would probably release a smartphone running Windows Mobile at some point in the future. However, the company’s Chief Operating Officer said later that this plan had been dropped. Of course, it could have changed its mind again.

In addition, Dell and Good Technologies announced in 2003 that they were collaborating on a cellular-wireless handheld. This was expected to be released this year, but it may be the device the Dell sales representative was referring to, which will hit the market in early 2005.

Reportedly, there will be both GSM and CDMA version of this device.

A Problem for Dell

Cellular-wireless products have always created a problem for Dell, and up to now it has avoided making any.

Dell built its business around selling directly to customers. But this isn’t possible with cellular-wireless products. These must be marketed through the wireless carriers (Verizon, Cingular, and the rest), who therefore control pricing, availability, etc.

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