Dell Halting Smartphone Sales in the USA

Dell has reportedly stopped selling smartphones here in the States to focus more on emerging markets and higher-margin products. The last products to get the axe will be Dell’s Venue and Venue Pro which a spokesperson said has run their course. Replacement stock has not been announced, but the company plans to launch additional mobile products (Windows 8 tablet, etc) later this year.

Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, doesn't seem surprised, saying that Dell is ready to push the reset button on its tablet and smartphone business after numerous missteps. The company wasn't really pushing its mobile products here in the States to begin with, sending mixed messages around products and operating systems.

"If you're not a Motorola, RIM or Apple, people won't take you seriously," Gold told IDG News.

Dell entered the mobile market back in August 2010 with the release of its Aero smartphone and the Streak 5 smartphone/tablet hybrid. It then launched its Venue line of smartphones served up in Android and Window Phone 7 flavors. Dell dropped the Streak 5 entirely from its portfolio due to a lack of sales, and eventually pulled the plug on its Streak 7 tablet late last year.

That said, Dell still isn't done with the mobile sector despite previous efforts. The company is reportedly working on a tablet using Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 OS although nothing official has been announced. "We have a roadmap for tablets that we haven't announced yet," said Dell's Chief Commercial Officer Steve Felice last week. "You'll see some announcements...for the back half of the year. We don't think that this market is closed off in any way."

Gold suggested that Dell should focus on Windows 8 for tablets while re-selling third-party smartphones, thus saving development costs which in turn would give the company more flexibility with its portfolio. Yet despite selling third-party products, its mobile strategy will still play a part in the bigger picture which includes its enterprise and service offerings.

"They are throwing their hands up and saying, 'Let's start again,'" Gold said.

Dell's mobile restructuring is part of the company's shift in focus to the enterprise sector, putting its mainstream consumer business on the back burner. Dell wants to offer a portfolio of devices for the higher-margin enterprise and services businesses that can be used both at home and a work. But the consumer market won't be abandoned, as Dell is also moving to discontinue netbooks and offer higher-margin consumer products like its premium XPS line of PCs.

But despite what's going on here in the States, Dell will still continue to offer smartphones and tablets outside the U.S., including the Venue Pro in India, the Venue in South Korea, a Streak smartphone in Japan, and Streak smartphones and tablets in China. Dell also sells Streak tablets in a few additional countries.