TIN BOX FLOGGER Dell has inadvertantly shown off a slew of mobile devices, surprising everyone by showing that it too can produce good looking designs.
The devices, which include mobile phones running the Windows Phone 7 OS and three devices that run the Android OS, all look like items that Steve Jobs would be happy to put his name behind. Finally Dell rounded off its leaked specifications with a seven-inch "glass" tablet, a bigger brother to the five-inch model it showed off at CES this year.
Although Dell has announced phones previously, such as the Mini 3i we looked at back in January, these devices are in a different league, with the "Lightning" singlehandedly doing what Steve Ballmer failed to do in Barcelona, make Windows Phone 7 interesting. The device has a slide-out keyboard, a 4.1-inch OLED screen and is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. Engadget also reports that the device will receive a 4G upgrade at the end of 2011.
However it seems that while Dell might have an impressive Windows Phone 7 handset, it has put more weight behind Android, showing three devices with the "Thunder" being an almost identical copy to the Lightning except running Android 2.1. Dell claims that the device runs Flash 10.1 and is being used to push mobile Hulu, a sort of Iplayer for the US.
Two other devices, called Smoke and Flash, go for the mainstream market and while lacking in innovative features still look very good. Both run the Android OS but neither will be available until late this year, at the earliest.
The firm's Mini 5, which has since been renamed as the Streak 5, will get a larger brother, the Looking Glass. That handset will have a seven-inch screen, be based on Nvidia's Tegra 2 processor and run Android 2.1. Engadget also reports that the device will have an optional TV tuner module supporting DVB-T transmissions. The only downside is that the seven-inch display will have a somewhat uninspiring screen resolution at 800x480, the same as the Streak.
The publication of these leaked Dell documents is sure to please Engadget, which was beaten to the Iphone story by its rival Gizmodo. However it's unlikely that anything Dell produces, no matter how impressive or surprising, will be able to mobilise a hoard of fanbois like Steve Jobs' creations.
These latest devices show that Dell is indeed capable of conjuring up good industrial designs, however given that none of these devices are slated to tip up for a good few months yet, it'll be interesting to see whether Dell will miss the boat with these impressive smartphones. µ