updated 10:45 pm EDT, Tue October 6, 2009
Dell's smartphone may be upgraded for US
An apparent scoop suggests Dell has decided to bring its Mini 3i to the US after all, but not in its original form. A contact claims it's due in the "next few months" but that it will be an upgraded version of what was shown recently in China. Build quality should improve, but it would also upgrade from a 3-megapixel camera to a 5-megapixel model.
There's no references by CrunchGear to the device's EDGE-only mobile data being upgraded to support 3G. Nonetheless, the possibility is stronger as US frequencies are more established and easier to implement than the China-specific TD-SCDMA format. Wi-Fi also doesn't face legal hurdles in the US.
Purportedly, the phone might still keep the Chinese government-backed Ophone interface, which heavily modifies Android to have a more iPhone-like interface. It would very likely drop any ties to China-specific features, but the customization may be such that the Mini 3i could lose compatibility with some standard Android apps.
The phone would stand not just as Dell's first presence in the handheld space since 2007 but also a rejection of Microsoft, which Dell favored heavily with its Windows Mobile-based Axim line of PDAs. At one point, it was rumored that Dell had abandoned all prospects of launching a US phone after a rejection by carriers and would instead have produced a data-only handheld closer to the iPod touch in purpose than any touchscreen smartphone.