Dell Turns Its Back On Android, Confirms It Will Drop Out Of Smartphone Market

Yes, Dell once made some smartphones.

The smartphone market has proven to be incredibly lucrative for a small number of companies — Apple and Samsung are the first that spring to mind — while others struggle to maintain a sizable market share. Dell is one that has now decided it cannot see itself becoming a successful player, and so the company is turning its back on Android and exiting the smartphone business. It will not be releasing any new handsets during 2013.

It’s a brave step to take, after all, the smartphone market is expected to reach a whopping $150.3 billion in 2014, according to MarketsandMarkets. But Dell has acknowledged that it’s difficult to compete alongside the big players.

The company’s head of consumer business, Jeff Clarke, told attendees at the Dell World conference yesterday that “it needs a lot of investment to really be successful.” It seems Dell doesn’t have that kind of investment right now, and the company believes that it’s hard to make money with Android handsets.

“It’s a content play with Android. 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,” said Clarke.

Samsung would disagree with that, of course. But I think Clarke does have a point. While it may be possible for Samsung to build a business on Android, for others it isn’t easy. Competing with the Korean company’s hugely popular handsets is proving difficult for some, apart from Apple, which has its own operating system and offers an entirely different product.

Dell won’t shun Android completely, however. “It doesn’t mean we’re not looking at Android. You should come and see what’s in our labs,” teased Clarke.

Dell will now focus on its Windows-powered tablet family, and of course its PCs.