Dell Starts Selling First U.S. Smartphone

Dell Inc. put its first U.S. smartphone on sale on Tuesday, making the computer maker the latest technology manufacturer to enter the competitive mobile handset market.

The Round Rock, Texas, company said its 3.5-inch touchscreen phone, dubbed the “Aero,” runs on Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android operating system and is available for $99.99 with a new two-year contract from AT&T Inc. (T) and $299.99 without. It can be ordered via Dell’s (DELL) website.

The move comes as the manufacturers jockey for position in the increasingly competitive smartphone market ahead of the critical holiday shopping season.

Energized by the release of Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone in 2007, sales of smartphones have become increasingly popular and a driver of sales for many hardware makers. Global smartphone sales are expected to double to 506 million units within four years, industry tracker iSuppli said earlier this summer.

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