Dell may have come clean regarding their Mini 3i Android-powered smartphone earlier this month, but hard specifications for the touchscreen handset were tougher to come by. Happily a China Mobile press release has filled in some of the technical blanks, confirming that the Dell Mini 3i headed to their shores later this month has a 3.5-inch 640 x 360 16:9 display and measures 58.35 x 122 x 11.7 mm.
Dell's Mini 3i may only have been official for a few hours, but already the first unboxing is upon us. PConline have taken the glossy Android smartphone from box to bench, and there are a few surprises to be had; firstly, Dell have ignored the swathe of popular opinion and not bothered including a 3.5mm headphones jack, and secondly they'd dropped a stylus into the box.
Dell has come clean with its Android smartphone plans, revealing it will be launching the Dell Mini 3i in China "in the coming days" while a Brazilian release will take place before the end of 2009. According to Dell Latin America's Hans Erickson, China and Brazil have been prioritized above all other regions; he also revealed that the Chinese version of the Mini 3i - set to launch on China Mobile - will lack 3G, while the Mini 3i headed to Brazilian carrier Claro will get the high-speed connectivity.
Update: Dell’s official blog has confirmed the news, together with dropping strong hints that the company will be leveraging existing carrier relationships for embedded mobile broadband netbooks for future Mini 3i releases. Vodafone in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and AT&T and Verizon in North America, are both name-checked. More photos of the Dell Mini 3i after the cut.
Dell's upcoming Android smartphone has been caught clearing the FCC, complete with support for AT&T's 3G bands. The Dell Mini 3iX was spotted in Brazil earlier this week, when it was said to support triband UMTS; the FCC listing for the handset mentions 850 and 1900 band support, which are the 3G bands AT&T uses for its high-speed network, together with WiFi (missing from the Chinese-version Mini 3i).
Dell's upcoming 3G version of its Android smartphone has shown up in Brazil as the Dell Mini 3iX. According to CelularCafe, the Mini 3iX has the same 3-megapixel camera as its Chinese counterpart, but adds triband 850/1900/2100 UMTS/HSDPA connectivity for pretty much global 3G access. The version already confirmed for China will lack 3G.
Dell swore blind that their first Android device - the Dell Mini 3i - was a China-only device that was more proof-of-concept than anything else, but according to CrunchGear they've been telling us porkies. Their source has apparently confirmed that Dell are working on a US version of the Mini 3i, with boosted hardware, a better quality casing and more megapixels than the China Mobile version's 3MP shooter.
Dell China have brought their smartphone out to play, the first official showing of the much-leaked handset. According to the launch reports, the Dell Mini 3i is based on the Chinese-designed Open Mobile System (OMS), an Android-based platform, and has less than impressive hardware: the Mini 3i is 2G GSM only, with no WiFi, and only a 3.2-megapixel camera (with LED flashlight) and Bluetooth to brighten things up.
It looks like Dell's Mini 3i smartphone is prompting just as much interest in Android over in China as it does in the US and Europe, as one modder has created their own huge version of the touchscreen handset. According to Shanzai, the project started off as a Dell Mini 10 netbook - which means this replica Mini 3i has a 10-inch display - which was then reshaped into the smartphone form-factor. You can see a timelapse video of the conversion after the cut.
Looks like Dell aren't quite ready to confess to launching the Mini 3i yet; the company has described the touchscreen smartphone as "a proof of concept", and dismissed any idea that they are confirming specifications or even names of upcoming devices. In fact, according to company spokesperson Matt Parretta, "The only thing that we're confirming is that we're in product with China Mobile ... We were there as a development partner for the [Google Android-based] oPhone platform."
This morning I got to know Dell very well. I'm not sure how many people work for the company, especially in sales and customer service, but I talked to 15 of their, ahem, lovely employees. I made 10 phone calls. I started the return process at 9:30 AM, and finally finished my journey two hours later. All I wanted to do was return a crappy cell phone.