Dell Inc. (DELL), one of the world’s leading computer manufacturer, has decided to start manufacturing its smartphone device. The company has zeroed in on Brazil as the first manufacturing destination and chosen Claro as its carrier partner in the region. Dell will also be manufacturing the device in China and partner with China Mobile in that region. The phone will be using the Google Android operating system.
Dell’s entry into the smartphone segment looks like a logical progression, as the company is already manufacturing and rolling out reasonably priced netbooks in the market. However, Dell is a late entrant into the market, unlike its peer Apple Inc. (AAPL), which has already grabbed a large share through smartphones such as iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

As per the technology research firm Canalys, third quarter 2009 worldwide smartphone shipments grew 4% year on year, to 41.4 million units.  As per the findings of the research firm, Nokia (NOK) maintained its worldwide smartphone leadership position with a 40% share of the market, up from its year-ago position, but down 5% from the previous quarter. Research In Motion (RIMM) was in second place, with a market share of 21%, almost flat sequentially.  Apple’s market share was 18% in the third quarter, up from the 14% it held in the second quarter, with significant improvement in the iPhone 3GS supply across many countries. HTC retained the fourth position with a 5% share.

There is no reason to think that Dell phones would not gain popularity considering the company’s history of innovation, although the success rate could vary as competition is intense. We believe that even if Dell is able to capture a small share of the smartphone market, the additional growth opportunity would be substantial. The technology research firm, iSuppli has projected that global smartphone shipments are expected to rise to 235.6 million units in 2010, an increase of 27.9% from 184.2 million units in 2009. So we believe that Dell has properly timed its smartphone entry, sensing the substantial growth opportunity that this segment offers. The company has the requisite financial strength and technical expertise to make a mark in this segment.

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