Computer makers Acer and Dell are said to be developing high-end mobile phones to complement their successful laptop and desktop computer portfolios. Such a move would not only help to sustain growth during the recession, but also put them in a better position to counter the growing threat of rival Apple, which has enjoyed enormous success in this field with the iPhone.
Neither company has yet confirmed or denied these rumours, though it would make sense for them to at least try to migrate their fixed computing expertise into the mobile space.
For Dell, this would be a wholly new experience and it might yet baulk at the cost of designing and developing its own brand of handheld devices. Acer, however, has some considerable experience of selling dedicated wireless data devices such as PDAs and notebooks, so any product it produces ought to tick most boxes for professional users. Dell and Acer may also look to the reasonable success Hewlett Packard has had with its iPAQ smartphone, launched last year, for reassurance.
It seems that Dell has already produced prototype devices, based on the Windows Mobile and Android platforms, as part of a scheme to commercialise an iPhone-type device, complete with touch screen. So observers are already wondering whether an announcement of some kind will be made at next month’s GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
In recent months, it’s been suggested that Microsoft might try to launch its own branded smartphone as it seeks to leverage its dominance of both the mobile and fixed computing and Internet markets. The company has had a less than successful dabble in the music player arena with the Zune, so it may be wary about trying to emulate Apple so closely. But, with a new version of the Windows Mobile OS about to be unleashed, maybe the time is now ripe.
But, with Nokia, RIM, HTC, Apple, Samsung and all the rest already competing fiercely for the fewer new sales opportunities in 2009, any new entrants will need to make sure that their devices are as user-friendly, multi-functional, and as attractively priced as possible.