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Dell outsmarted in US smartphone market, calls it quits

Dell Aero
One of Dell's phones, the Aero, released in 2010.Dell

Dell is getting out of the smartphone business in the United States -- wait, you mean you didn't know they were in it?

Let's put it this way: Dell entered the U.S. smartphone market quite late with the Aero (at left), launched in summer of 2010. Now, the company is getting out early, before spending more time and money on their poor-selling Android- and Windows-based devices. Dell's latest models, the Venue Pro (Windows) and Venue (Android) will not be sold any longer in the U.S. They will continue to be sold overseas.

"Mobility products typically have shorter lifecycles than laptops and desktops, and we have decided to no longer offer those two on Dell.com in the United States," said a Dell spokesperson in a statement to msnbc.com.

Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, told PCWorld that Dell's move is probably a good one, and that it may allow the company to better focus on other products, such as tablets that use Windows 8, expected out this fall.

Android phones from Samsung, HTC and Motorola have done very well, and a Nielsen report Thursday says that 49.7 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers owned smartphones as of February, up from 36 percent a year ago. Android-based phones lead the U.S. smartphone market with a 48 percent share, while Apple's iPhone is at 32 percent, and BlackBerry is at 11.6 percent.

Dell's smartphone appeal has not been domestic. The Texas-based company began selling phones first in countries like Brazil and China before the U.S. 

In the U.S. the company's 5-inch Streak smartphone and tablet did get some positive feedback, and Samsung has gone a similar size route with its Galaxy Note.

Dell's larger Streak tablet hasn't been on a selling streak -- especially compared to other offerings from Apple, Samsung and Amazon.com's Kindle Fire -- but with touch-oriented Windows 8, Dell may be able to better compete in the U.S. tablet market.

The company's decision doesn't preclude it from trying at smartphones again domestically. "We're looking forward to offering new products and concentrating on expanding our growing mobility solutions portfolio in the future," Dell said in its statement.

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