In a move that surprised exactly nobody, Dell vice chairman Jeff Clarke took the floor at the Dell World Conference in Austin and announced that the company is officially slamming the brakes on its smartphone and Android offerings. Wait, Dell made smartphones and Android tablets?
Indeed it does, or at least has, though you’d be excused for your forgetfulness if you’re a Stateside technology buff. After what could best be described as a short-lived run, Dell discontinued its Android-powered Streak tablet in the U.S. in December 2011, while the Venue smartphone line – Dell’s final bastion of American smartphone availability – bit the dust back in March. The company continued selling both smartphones and a 10-inch Streak slate in China, but Clarke’s proclamation indicates that will no longer be the case.
“It’s a content play with Android,” Forbes reports Clarke as saying. “Amazon is selling books and Google is making it up with search. So far we couldn’t find a way to build a business on Android.” Forbes astutely notes that Samsung may say otherwise, while we’d posit that ho-hum hardware may have been part of Dell’s mobile woes.
That echoes Michael Dell’s comments at last year’s Dell World, where he said that the Android market “has not developed the expectations (Dell) would have had.”
So what’s Dell going to do now that it’s dumped smartphones and Android in an increasingly mobile-crazed world? Just what Michael Dell claimed last year: Doubling down on Windows 8 with offerings like the superb XPS 12 hybrid and the Latitude 10 tablet. While Windows 8 may have gotten off to a slow start, the decision may play to Dell’s core focus going forward. The company has made no secret of its desire to become more of an enterprise-oriented company, and no OS is more enterprise-oriented than Windows. Conversely, security concerns have led many companies to shun Android.