Michael Dell, founder of the computer company that bears his name spoke in Hong Kong about smart phone platforms. He has a few opinions worth investigation. He?s gained years of experience since founding his company in 1984.
The recent event, held at the JW Marriott in Hong Kong by the American Chamber of Commerce [Am Cham], promised attendees coffee, tea, and cookies. Cookies and Michael Dell, what a combo. Dell took the microphone and claimed that apps and other software are easier to create on Microsoft?s smartphone platform than on Google Android. That comment must have made Microsoft puff out its chest since it is attempting to entice developers to create games and productivity apps for its Windows Phone 7.
Dell has a leg to stand on when making such comparisons. His company is about to release the Thunder smartphone under Android power, and Venue Pro under Windows Phone 7. The Venue Pro just cleared the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] in the US, and will be on T-Mobile.
Dell?s assertion of Android?s inferiority as a development platform comes shortly after putting out a tablet powered by Google Android, the 5-inch Dell Streak. Selling for $299 with a two year contract, it is up against the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Apple iPad. The Streak has gotten a lot of flack for its small form factor, in between a tablet and a phone. To help it out, the device is scheduled to receive an upgrade to Android 2.2 "Froyo". Potential upgrades to future versions of Android OS [Gingerbread or Honeycomb] are unknown at press time.
Dell unveiled a 7-inch Android tablet in September at Oracle OpenWorld. Delivery schedule has not been given ? perhaps because Dell has found the Android environment difficult to work in. Still, Dell said they would be coming out with a number of new tablet PCs next year. It will be interesting to see which platforms Dell chooses for those new devices.
The sold out event, at HK$ 360 [$46 USD] revolved around a discussion between Michael Dell and Jim Thompson, a member of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, past chairman of AmCham, and chairman of Crown Worldwide relocation services. The American Chamber of Commerce believes that "an economic system based upon free trade, open markets and private enterprise creates employment, prosperity and stability," The organization is "committed to maintaining Hong Kong’s status as a center for international business and finance."
Topics of the day included opportunities in China and the changing face of the global workforce. Dell has manufacturing facilities in Xiamen China for notebooks, and in India, and Brazil. There are concerns that Chinese factories are turning away orders because of a shortage of labor. Questions are being asked "What do Chinese workers want? Does China have an emerging labor movement?"
Concerns about the workforce are explored in Alexandra Harney?s recent book: The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage. The contents come from two years of undercover reporting. She examines the human and environmental cost of China?s success as the world?s factory through the stories of ordinary Chinese people. Harney will present before the Chamber on November 5.