Dell has introduced its Mini 3i Android-based smartphone in China in a bid to position itself favourably in a market with a potential of 1.3 billion users, the overwhelming number of whom have yet to experience competently built smartphones.
The phone is clearly built for the Chinese market. It doesn't have 3G or WiFi built in; like almost all other Chinese phones, it sticks to GSM/EDGE. However it has a 3.5 inch touchscreen display that can show 640x360 pixels and comes with a customised version of Google Android - oPhone - on China Mobile's network.
Amongst other features, the notable ones are Bluetooth, GPS, a microSD slot, a mini USB connector, a 3-megapixel camera with zoom and autofocus as well as a slew of consumer and business-oriented applications.
China Mobile will also be offering a "Mobile Market" applications store, that will be similar to the iPhone's App Store.
The US-based company has yet to confirm plans for a US/European version of the phone although this is very likely. Such a device will certainly have WiFi and 3G enabled.
Similarly, we have yet to find out at what price the phone will be available although it should be competitively priced against the dozens of iPhone clones.
Dell is making a comeback in the field of handheld devices after it canned its popular but ultimately doomed Axim range of PDAs. Dell may or may choose to resurrect it and one thing is certain, PDAs are already dead.