Dell's Android-Based Aero Smartphone Hits U.S. Shelves

Dell (DELL) said Tuesday its Aero smartphone is now on sale in the U.S. for $99 After months of talk, Dell has its Android-based Aero smartphone to the U.S. with a two-year AT&T (T) contract.

Dell has been selling similar phones in China and Brazil since late last year and has been promising a U.S. version since January.

Dell, one of the world's largest makers of personal computers, has been looking for ways to diversify its business as profit margins on traditional PCs have grown thinner and thinner. Dell also wants to stay relevant as more everyday computing tasks get done on smartphones instead of desktops and laptops.

Is 'Cupcake' Stale or Still a Treat?

The Dell Aero uses an older version of Google's (GOOG) Android operating system than many competing phones on the market today. The Aero uses version 1.5, also called "cupcake," while most phones now use version 1.6 or higher. Dell says it has done a significant amount of work adding features to the base Google system.

The Aero has a 3.5-inch touch screen and a 5-megapixel camera, and it has photo and video editing functions built in. Dell says the Aero can sync with Windows Media Player and music without copy protection from Apple's (AAPL) iTunes.

Dell has a second Android device for sale already through AT&T. The Streak, which costs $300 with a two-year contract or $550 without, has a 5-inch screen. Dell is marketing it as a small tablet computer, but it can also be used as a phone.

Apple's iPhone 4 starts at $199 with a two-year AT&T contract. That's the same price after rebate as the Droid Incredible, made by HTC for Verizon (VZ).

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