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Dell plans new US smartphones for later this year

On the heels of news that it is discontinuing sales of existing models, the company said new ones are on the way

Dell plans to introduce new smartphone models in the U.S. later this year, the company said on Thursday.

The company has discontinued sales of all smartphones in the U.S., saying that Wednesday that its Venue and Venue Pro models have reached the end of their life cycles. The new models later this year will provide a fresh start for the company in the U.S. smartphone market.

A company spokeswoman declined to provide specific release dates for the smartphones in the U.S. In addition to smartphones, Dell is also planning to release new tablets in the U.S. and other countries later this year, the spokeswoman said.

Dell is already selling smartphones outside the U.S. Models of the Venue smartphones are offered in India and South Korea, while Streak smartphones are sold in Japan and China. The company also offers Streak tablets in China and other countries.

Dell entered the U.S. smartphone market in August 2010 with the Aero smartphone and Streak 5 combined tablet/smartphone. Dell later introduced the Venue Pro and Venue smartphones running Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 and Android operating systems, respectively. Dell discontinued the Streak 5 about a year after it was introduced.

While Dell is putting more emphasis on enterprise products, it also wants to maintain its presence in markets for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, said Ezra Gottheil, senior analyst at Technology Business Research. The company will offer smartphones and tablets that are suitable for businesses of all sizes and that can easily plug into Dell's services offerings, he said.

The company has already stated it will launch Windows 8 tablets later this year, but the company is likely to keep its OS options open for smartphones and tablets open, Gottheil said.

"So far Android has not proven to be a terribly attractive in the business market," Gottheil said.

Dell will compete with top smartphone vendors including Apple, Samsung, Nokia, LG, Research In Motion, Motorola and HTC.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com


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