For those of you who thought Dell was content with putting out low-end Android handsets like the Aero, I submit the Thunder, Smoke, and Flash.
Wednesday saw Engadget leaking three new phones from the handsetmaker's road map. Looking through the various details and specs, one gets the sense that Dell has lofty ambitions for the platform, going so far as to create its own user interface called Stage. Based on the few pictures available, the experience looks stylish, sleek, and classy. Although we shouldn't expect to see these phones for nearly a year, Dell has already committed to the Froyo build of Android.
The "noncomforming style" of the Smoke draws obvious comparisons to the Palm Pixi and BlackBerrys with its QWERTY keyboard below the screen. Although the description mentions a 2.8-inch screen, the render would lead us to believe it's larger. Details include an 800MHz processor, 5-megapixel camera, and Exchange and ActiveSync support.
Looking very European, the Flash has a polished, touch-only design. The combination of 512MB ROM/RAM and the 800MHz Qualcomm chip should be more than enough to power the integrated Flash 10.1. Other hardware specs include a 5-megapixel camera with image stabilization and blink/smile detection, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and TV-out. Look for this one on AT&T when it arrives.
Last but not least, the Dell Thunder appears to be the flagship device with a 4.1-inch OLED touch display, an 8-megapixel camera, and a presumed Snapdragon processor. Unlike the other Dell handsets, the Thunder is mentioned as having an "integrated Web video Hulu app." Like the Flash, this phone is slated for an AT&T release later this year, with an LTE version due in 2011.
Though it's great to see what's on the road map for Dell, I have to admit I'm a little nervous. We've waited for over half a year now for the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 to arrive. Back when it was announced, there were few handsets that could rival it. Unfortunately, that phone is likely going to land with a thud once it finally debuts. I applaud Dell for committing to the next version of Android (Froyo) but have to wonder where the platform will be this time next year.