After a few mild attempts at breaking into the smartphone market over the past couple of years, Dell has now confirmed they’re pulling out of the ring globally and have no intentions to return in the near future.
The announcement was made by the company’s head of consumer development Jeff Clarke at the Dell World conference in Texas and is hardly surprising at this point given their U.S. retreat earlier this year.
Dell started its Android smartphone business with the poorly received Aero and later tried to carve out a niche of its own with the Streak 5 and Streak 7 tablets. They were poorly supported, though, and weren’t even updated to their last working Android versions in Gingerbread. Needless to say, none of them really took off.
Some versions of Dell’s Streak lineup were still available in China up until a few months ago, with the expectation that this market would prove less competitive and more profitable, but that wasn’t the case.
Commenting on the move, Clarke said the smartphone business “needs a lot of investments to really be successful,” noting that Google and Amazon make up for poor margins on mobile devices with search revenue and selling content. But purely as an Android manufacturer there aren’t many opportunities to rake in big dollars. Perhaps Samsung would disagree but they’re a notable exception among most Android manufacturers.
Going forward Dell says it plans to focus on creating Windows 8 touch-enabled computers and tablets, noting there are some "long term prospects" for the PC business and that it remains “optimistic”.
Regarding smartphones specifically, although they won’t be making any hardware, Dell says it will provide smartphone solutions to accommodate the BYOD trend in the enterprise.