Dell Releases Aero on AT&T: A Subpar Phone for a Subpar Network

by Matt Klassen on March 25, 2010

Computer manufacturing giant Dell has finally joined the ever-growing crowd of smartphone producers in America with the announcement of the impending release of the Aero on AT&T’s troubled network. While details are scant at this time, it has been revealed that the Aero will run Google’s Android OS, which would make it only the second phone in AT&T’s lineup to do so.

Further, we know that this phone is based on Dell’s Mini 3 phone, which is already sold in China and Brazil, but it will employ a custom-made user interface designed specifically for the AT&T model.

The Aero was on display at the CTIA trade show on Tuesday, but as PC Magazine reports, Dell representatives were particularly guarded about the device, not allowing anyone to actually turn it on. The reason behind this, Dell said, was that AT&T did not want people seeing the pre-final software, but as other tech sites speculate, there could be something deeper going on here.

There is a fear among analysts that what Dell and AT&T are trying to keep quiet is the fact that the Aero will not run the latest Android v2.1, but instead will rely on either v1.5 or v1.6, which would immediately put it at a disadvantage in the mobile market.

Understandably, before those specs are released Dell is working hard to generate buzz about what they claim is the lightest smartphone on the market. Although I will be honest that I was unaware that consumers were complaining about the weight of their vastly superior smartphones, I’m sure being the lightest on the market will give Aero the advantage over its competitors that Dell is hoping for.

If consumers are attracted by the featherweight feature of this phone, they will probably also be attracted by the subpar 5 megapixel camera that the Aero boasts. In an era when most phones are already including far superior cameras than this, it’s hard to consider this an actual selling point, but of course, Dell thinks it’s great!

About the only thing that might attract users to this phone is the user interface itself, which, as mentioned, Dell developed specifically for the AT&T model. While the version of the OS remains in question, the fact that the UI promises Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitpic integration right out of the box is certainly intriguing; by far the best feature this phone has to offer.  

In the end, however, having a uniquely tricked out UI may not be enough to set apart Dell’s first offering in the American smartphone market. For a company that has built its reputation on building affordable, but generally subpar computers, it seems that this phone will certainly follow suit. So if you do chose to buy it, consider yourself warned, and just pray you never have to phone Dell customer service.

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