In the design of ‘must buy’ mobile phones, China Mobile needs all the help it can get.
In the sale of electronic devices in very large quantities Dell needs all the help it can get.
So it comes as no surprise to see a Dell mobile device listed beside handsets which will be supported by the China Mobile application store which has just been launched.
The Dell device is called the mini3i and by the look of it it has as much chance of success as a celluloid cat has of walking through hell carry a hot shovel.
Beyond the absence of broadband network compatibility, the smartphone mini3i has interesting features — but not enough. There is a multitouch screen of 360 x 640 pixels which is roughly iPhone. There is also a 3.2-megapixel camera and, good plus point this, a microSD memory card slot.
Sadly, in communications "me too" devices are not going to make it.
China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers, has launched its application store but the China Mobile spokeswoman did not reply to questions about the Dell device.
Zhang Jun, an analyst at research house Wedge MKI, said a Dell smartphone has been submitted to China’s regulatory authorities for testing and is expected to go on sale next month.
Zhang, citing sources at Dell and China Mobile, said the phone is 2G (which is very last year but at the right price might hack it in the rural and cheap end of the market) uses China Mobile’s in-house mobile operating system.
This is very interesting because the China Mobile OS is a version of the Google Android platform that comes with embedded applications owned by the carrier. Other "Ophones," a working name for handsets that use the OS, are on the way from companies including Lenovo Mobile and Dopod, the China partner of High Tech Computer (HTC).
It should never be forgotton that China Mobile had 493 million mobile subscribers at the end of June.