Making its maiden foray into the fast-growing smartphone market, India's largest PC seller Dell on Wednesday launched two 3G phones based on Google's Android operating system. The smartphones are priced at Rs11,000 and Rs17,000.
Tapping into the country's Rs30,000-crore mobile handset market, the US-based Dell also became the first PC maker to target the yet-to-be-launched 3G services by private players in India. ''This XCD range (of smartphones) has been launched first in India, as opposed to other Dell products that peter down to Indian markets,'' Dell India executive director and general manager (consumer) Mahesh Bhalla told journalists in New Delhi.
The world's fastest-growing telecom market, India adds almost 20 million subscribers a month to its 500 million mobile subscriber base. About 25 per cent of the subscribers possess smartphones. Specifically targeting emerging markets with these handsets, Dell may launch the XCD range in other countries.
The touch-screen Dell phones have been customised for the Indian user with features such as FM radio and Microsoft e-mail exchange. Dell's rival in the PC business, HP, already has a hand-held iPAQ in the Indian market, while HCL has denied plans to get into the mobile phone business, since it's the largest distributor for Nokia phones in India. But local brands like Intex sell both PCs and mobile phones.
''For more than 25 years, Dell has played a critical role in transforming computing, enabling more affordable and more pervasive access to technology around the world. With today's launch, we extend the same pioneering edge to the smartphones market as starting with the XCD series, we look to offer technology solutions to a much larger audience,'' Bhalla said. While the XCD28 will be immediately available in the market, the XCD35 will be available by December 2010.
''In the fast growing Indian mobile market, this will allow more and more younger generation and mobile professionals to access a rich browsing and multimedia experience, backed with the assurance of an uncompromising, market-leading service support …we chose to launch the new XCD range of smartphones first in India to offer a complete portfolio of Dell mobile Internet products in all screen sizes,'' Bhalla added.
Powered by the Android 2.operating system, with built-in 3G for high speed connectivity options including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the two smartphones offers full internet browsing with native browser, a media player supporting multiple formats for videos, music and photos and features such as location awareness.