Dell Venue Pro SIM-free for £500, out November

Dell's first attempt at a smart phone has shown its face on the website of a British retailer, tagged with a price, release date and specifications.

Dell's first foray into smart phones, the Venue Pro, has shown up priced and tagged with a release date, together with a load of new specs.

The Windows Phone 7 handset with Qwerty keyboard will be available for £500 on November 8, on the Expansys website. This is the only Windows Phone 7 mobile currently offered SIM-free. Microsoft has kept a tight ship with its Samsung, HTC and LG Windows Phone 7 mobiles -- these handsets are only available on contract or pay as you go.

We now know the Dell Venue Pro runs on a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, carries a 4.1-inch AMOLED touchscreen with 800x480 pixels and a 5-megapixel camera with digital zoom and LED flash. It has a small amount of on-board storage, just 1GB, but microSD expandability means this shouldn't be too much of a problem. It'll run 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth no sweat, and there's also an accelerometer and digital compass.

The Dell Venue Pro has a unique little keyboard, which slides out vertically rather than sideways. If you've been looking for a Windows Phone 7 device with a Qwerty keyboard, this will have to be it for the time being. The LG Optimus 7Q still hasn't been confirmed, and the HTC 7 Pro is still some months away.

Compared to the other Windows Phone 7 handsets we've seen, this is a little bulky. With a full Qwerty keyboard, it also looks suspiciously like a business device. That said, the 4.1-inch display is something for everyone to shout about, significantly bigger than most of the other handsets released so far.

There's no confirmation on whether any UK operators are going to pick this phone up, so there's a possibility unlocked is the only way you'll be able to get hold of it. But we'll let you know about carrier availability as soon as we have any information.

Like other PC manufacturers, Dell has already made moves to take advantage of the burgeoning smart phone and tablet market. With the Dell Streak , it brought out a hybrid phone-tablet device that did reasonably well for business. And we really like the look of this, a transforming tablet-netbook mash-up.

Can Dell find a good footing on the ladder of smart phone success? Or will it fall on its face in the muddy water of mobile failure? We'll find out soon.

 

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