I’d wager that only a few of you will remember that Dell sold their own smartphones, and still fewer of you have ever actually owned one.
It should come as no surprise then that Dell, who entered the smartphone market less than two years ago, has announced that they have ceased sales of their last remaining smartphone lines: the Android-powered Venue and the Venue Pro Windows Phone. With those product lines getting the axe, Dell has (for now) put an end to their struggling smartphone business here in the States.
None of Dell’s smartphones managed to gain critical mass in the U.S. market, thanks in part to hardware and software issues that plagued the likes of the Streak 5 and the Venue Pro. They haven’t given up the smartphone ghost completely though, as they’ll continue to sell their devices outside of the United States. Their focus now, according to PC World, has shifted toward “emerging markets and higher-margin products.”
The smartphone game can be a very tough one to crack — consumers, fans, zealots, and certainly us tech writers, demand continuous improvement from the companies that make our hardware. Make them bigger, thinner, faster, better looking, and do it several times a year. Those are tall orders even for entrenched players like HTC and Motorola, so for a company like Dell whose primary focus remains in PC hardware and software solutions, the odds of building and maintaining a considerable stake in the smartphone market were against them from the beginning.
HP has learned that lesson all too well — after having spent an inordinate sum of money to throw their hat into the smartphone and tablet ring with webOS, they pulled the plug in what seems like record time. It takes more than cash and manpower to produce a hit, and in the end, neither HP nor Dell hit upon that crucial formula.
Right now though, Dell’s future in mobile remains hazy. A Dell spokesperson confirmed that the company has plans to push out new mobile products later this year, though he refused to comment on what exactly those devices are (my money is on a slew of Windows 8 tabs with some funky form factors). It’s very possible that Dell intends to dust themselves off and jump back into the ring, but they’ll need a brand new strategy if they want to start playing with the big boys any time soon.