Dell smartphone official in China; is AT&T next?

dell-mini-3.jpgAfter months — even years — of speculation, Dell officially entered the smartphone market today, releasing its Dell 3 Mini smartphone on Open Mobile System, China Mobile’s (NYSE:CHL) version of the Android operating system. After it launches in China later this month, the Dell 3 Mini will make its way to Brazil’s Claro, and — while no U.S. plans have been announced — it should be headed to AT&T (NYSE:T) in the U.S. next, according to ABI Research.

In a research note, ABI pointed out that Dell has agreements in place with both Vodafone in Europe and AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the U.S. market. Given the recent wave of Android-based device announcements coming to Verizon, most notably the Droid, the ball is in AT&T’s court. The second-largest carrier has yet to announce an Android phone on its network, but it does offer a Dell 3 Mini FCC application, suggesting it could be placing its bets on the Dell 3 Mini.

Dell already has relationships in place in China and Brazil and will likely have better luck in those developing markets, compared to the smartphone-dominated U.S. While it will face competition from the iPhoneon China Unicom, Apple hasn’t received a warm welcome there with its expensive, unlocked and Wi-Fi-less handset. The Dell 3 Mini will also lack Wi-Fi in China, due to the region’s carrier requirements, but will likely include the feature in its other launches. The Dell phone will also face competition from China Mobile’s own extensive line of smartphones, including those from manufacturers like LG and Samsung, which have announced Androidplans.

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