Dell Releases $100 Smartphone

Dell (Stock Quote: DELL) on Tuesday started selling their first smartphone to the U.S. market. The Aero, which uses the Android operating system and runs on the AT&T (Stock Quote: T) network, retails for $100 with a two-year plan.

While the Aero’s $100 price tag makes it more affordable than much of the rest of the smartphone pack (like the Droid 2 and iPhone 4G, which both retail for $200 with a service plan), its operating system has it lagging well behind. The phone uses the outdated Android 1.5 software — first released in early 2009 — leading PC World to dub the phone “an embarrassment to Android.”  (The latest version of Android, 2.2, launched in May.)

Also notable is the phone’s launch on the AT&T network, which has well-documented signal problems, as any New Yorker with an iPhone will tell you. On the plus side, the Aero features a 5-megapixel camera with an 8x zoom, GPS and support for Flash. It also weighs in at less than four ounces, making it one of the lightest Android phones.

The Aero comes on the heels of Dell’s first Android tablet, the five-inch Streak, released earlier this month. That device, considered something of a “hybrid” between a phone and a tablet PC, retails for $300 with a two-year AT&T plan and $550 without.

For more on the Aero, read Dell’s press release on the launch.

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