Dell's New Smartphones: Smoke, Flash, Thunder, and Lightning
So far Dell's foray into the smartphone business has been pretty limited, culminating in a mediocre Android phone for China. But according to leaked product sheets, Dell has some beautiful and impressive smartphones planned for later this year.
A candybar form factor with a large screen, 2.8-inches, and a full QWERTY keyboard squished at the bottom. The screen is actually remarkably large for the form factor, something Dell acknowledges with the words "non-conforming style." It will come with a Qualcomm 800MHz processor, which isn't fantastic but still impressive, a 5 megapixel camera, microSD card expansion slot, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Dell's description and the form factor indicate it will be marketed towards the BlackBerry business crowd, but it won't be out until the second quarter of 2011. It will be running the Android 2.2 operating system, which is scheduled to be released soon.
It's fairly obvious that the name is supposed to indicate a "flashy" phone because of the sleek design. Dell even says it will be fashioned out of a piece of "curved glass." The form factor is pretty standard for a touchscreen phone, with a 3.5-inch display, 5 megapixel autofocus camera with image stabilization and blink detection, microSD card expansion slot, Wi-Fi, TV-out port, Bluetooth and a Qualcomm 800MHz processor. The Flash will also run Android 2.2 and is intended for a first quarter 2011 release on AT&T's network.
The Dell Thunder is the closest to production and also one of the most attractive of the new phones. It will run Android 2.1 with a special Dell "Stage" user interface integrated on top of the operating system. The Thunder is designed to be a media machine, mostly because it will be compatible with Flash 10.1 , which allows smartphones to view videos and interactive content on the Web. Along those lines, the Dell documents also mention an "integrated" Hulu app for viewing TV shows on the phone. Specs for the Thunder are a little vague. It likely has the 1GHz Snapdragon processor, but it definitely has an 8 megapixel camera. The Thunder is destined for the AT&T network near the end of this year.
The Lightning is the sole Windows Phone 7 handset in the leaked documents, but it's impressive. The form factor is a "portrait slider," meaning the slide-out keyboard slides out when the phone is upright, rather than in landscape mode like most slider phones. It has a large 4.1-inch OLED touchscreen display, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 8GB of storage on a microSD card, GPS, accelerometer, FM radio, Flash support (for the aforementioned video viewing). The Lightning will come out late this year, which makes sense because Windows Phone 7 won't be released until that time, too.