Dell and search giant Baidu partnering on tablet for Chinese market

Dell has teamed up with China’s major search engine Baidu to develop tablet computers and mobile phones for the Chinese market. The news comes as device-makers Apple and Lenovo consolidate an ever-stronger leadership position on a market with 900 million mobile phone subscribers.   Dell  has declined to give a timeline for the launch of the devices, but news sources say that it would most likely be launched in November.

“We have a partnership with Baidu and you know we have the Streak 5 tablet, so the partnership will be in that space,” a Dell spokeswoman told on Tuesday. Dell’s Streak 5 tablet is an Android-based tablet which was discontinued in the United States last month.

“Dell has got nothing to lose, they don’t have a big mobile presence, so by partnering Baidu, they will probably get some momentum for their mobile products,” said Sandy Shen, a Shanghai-based research director with Gartner.

“I suspect this is just Dell, who has a lot of problems on the mobile and tablet front, grasping at straws to get any kind of publicity that it can to make its product more attractive,” said Michael Clendenin, managing director of technology consultancy RedTech Advisors. “Ultimately in China, I still think it is Apple’s game, still for the iPad and iPhone.”

China has over 900 million mobile phone subscribers and the smartphone market is growing at a rapid pace in the country. The mobile market is currently dominated by Apple Inc and Lenovo devices. Analysts feel that the tie-up could revive Dell’s dying tablet business. For Baidu, the Dell tie-up could help the company widen its product offerings and strengthen its position in the mobile market.

Over the past few months, Baidu has been making constant efforts to nurture its mobile business. The company recently launched an Android based mobile application platform named Baidu Yi, featuring a collection of company apps. There were also reports that Baidu is seeking potential acquisitions and investment opportunities in the mobile and cloud computing spaces.

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