Dell’s much-rumored entry into the smartphone market has finally been confirmed – sort of. Yesterday during the launch of China Mobile’s new application platform, the company took the wraps off its first handset aimed exclusively at that market. Dubbed Mini 3i, the 3.5-inch touch screen device runs an Android-based operating system designed by China Mobile called Open Mobile System; it notably lacks Wi-Fi and is strictly 2G GSM.


The Mini3i's design is somewhat reminiscent of the Palm Pre with its rounded edges but has no physical keyboard. Other specs include a mini USB port, microSD card slot, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. Although industry observers have been largely underwhelmed by the device, Dell was quick to note that this is just a “proof of concept.” According to spokesman Matt Parretta, Dell hasn’t actually introduced any retail smartphones, even in China, they’ve merely confirmed to be in product development with China Mobile.

It’s unclear how this device relates to earlier attempts by Dell to enter the smartphone market, which have so far failed to impress U.S. mobile operators.