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Dell shows prototype at China Mobile platform launch

The prototype was presented at the Beijing introduction of China Mobile's Open Mobile System. The company won't comment on plans for a future product.

China Mobile introduced a new mobile platform Monday, and one of the presenting partners on hand has raised a few eyebrows.

Details of a Dell phone, reportedly called the Mini 3i, began to circulate on the Web almost immediately after being presented at the event, but Dell says it has not yet announced any smartphone for the China market.

China Mobile Dell smartphone
A prototype of a Dell smartphone seen at a China Mobile event.

"Dell was there supporting China Mobile as a development partner. We did not confirm or announce anything," said Dell spokesman Matt Parretta.

There was, however, a "proof of concept mobile device prototype" shown off at the event, Parretta said. That explains the photos, which depict a black, candybar-style handset that had a touch screen and was stamped with the Dell logo on the back.

Reports from the China Mobile event, which introduced the wireless operator's Android-based Open Mobile System, or OMS, say the Mini 3i was confined to operate on a 2G GSM network--no Wi-Fi access--but had a 3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and a slot for a microSD card.

Industry observers and market analysts have been largely underwhelmed both by the idea of a Dell smartphone, and according to some who saw early prototypes, the execution of it as well.