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Old 01-12-2010, 01:03 PM   #2
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Here's other news for AT&T users...

Dell, AT&T Plan New Android Phone Based on Mini 3
Richard Koman, Richard Koman, Wed Jan 6, 5:02 pm ET

A day after Google launched its Nexus One Android-based smartphone, Dell and AT&T announced another first -- Dell's first mobile handset for the U.S. The new Android phone, which has yet to be finalized, is based on the Mini 3 phone Dell sells in China. That phone is a 3.5-inch, 640x360, touchscreen phone with a three-megapixel camera.

"The Mini 3 is a result of listening to customers and creating products that allow people to do the things they want, whenever and wherever they want to do them," said Ron Garriques, president of Dell Communication Solutions.

The deal for AT&T to be the carrier for the Dell phone appears to have been in place for quite some time. Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, had mentioned a Dell smartphone, though the company later said he misspoke.

More Pressure on AT&T's Network

Dell's choice of AT&T may be bad news for iPhone users if the phone takes off. AT&T's network has well-documented problems with 3G. "Given all the complaints with the network, it's going to exacerbate that because Android users are similar to iPhone users in being heavy users of the network," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst with Sterling Market Research.

The release of yet another Android phone -- following quickly after Google's Nexus One and Motorola's Droid -- is ample proof of the broad adoption of the platform. "It's quite dramatic," Sterling said. "While you could view this as expected because of Google's engineering skill, Android seems to be more successful than most people would have anticipated."

Left out in the cold is Windows Mobile. "Microsoft is really getting hammered by the success of Android," Sterling said. "Every few weeks we hear about a new Android handset, a new feature." While handset makers like HTC are doing both Android and Windows Mobile phones, "you just don't hear much about Windows," Sterling said.

Android Fragmentation

The rise of Android has coincided with the explosion of the mobile market. Just six months ago, there was a lot of skepticism about mobile, but a recent Morgan Stanley report that called mobile potentially bigger than the web has driven enthusiasm for the mobile market.

Despite all Android's success, the biggest name in mobility is by far the iPhone -- Apple's breakthrough device that changed the definition of how people use smartphones -- and the world of mobile is playing out as Apple vs Google, instead of Microsoft vs Google, Sterling said.

One issue for Android is fragmentation -- some handsets will get the benefits of the new Android 2.1 operating system, but some older phones won't be able to run the upgrade. At the Nexus One event, Google spokespeople said most phones would be able to run 2.1.

"In that scenario, hardware becomes the differentiating factor," Sterling said. "Consumers will choose phones based on camera, keyboard and other software layers manufacturers may offer."

All of this represents a clear shift away from carriers to handset makers -- or more properly the Silicon Valley companies that control the operating systems. "The carriers are being reduced to just ISPs," Sterling said.

"New Android phones will keep coming out, the evolution won't stop," Sterling said. "Google is helping to build out the infrastructure to support the usage, and they're also being aggressive in stopping others from marginalizing them."
how long until AT&T's network totally fails under the load of all these data intensive devices?
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