Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) has officially released its smartphone Aero in the U.S. after launching it in China and Brazil last year, in a digression from the usual strategy of launching the product first in the U.S. and then going international.

The Aero smartphone sports a 3.5-inch touch screen and is available for $99.99 with a two-year mobile contract with AT&T (NYSE: T).

Aero, which is based on Android 1.5, will face stiff competition from HTC EVO 4 and Samsung Galaxy phones, which have all moved to Android 2.2 Froyo or use Android 2.

However, Dell trumpets it as a superset, with features such as handwriting recognition and Facebook applications embedded into the platform.

Its specifications include 2GB of onboard storage with microSD expansion, triband 3.6Mbps HSDPA and quadband EDGE, a 5-megapixel camera. Weighing 3.67-ounce, Dell touts it as the lightest Android phone in the U.S. market.

While just recently a prototype of its smartphone Thunder resurfaced after it was first previewed by Engadget in April. The market expected the launch of Thunder rather than Aero as Thunder is cited to be a more suitable competitor against Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and other Android variants. While the Thunder prototype was also based on Android vanilla edition, it is speculated it will sport Android 2.1 -- still a step away from Froyo.

However, the launch of Aero reveals a shift in its strategy by launching the phone first in China and Brazil and then migrating it to the U.S., unlike its strategy to market its tablet "Streak" in the U.S. first before shipping it outside the U.S.

With the price tag of $99.99, it is targeting a different customer base, thus revealing its strategy to have strong product depth -- a product for every segment in the smartphone market.

Last year, when it launched Aero in China with China Mobile, and in Brazil with Claro Network, Dell's CFO Brian Gladden said: "Our strategy is really a carrier-centric strategy. We've had relationships with customers like China Mobile. We've sold a lot of netbooks with 3G-enabled capability, and we understand how they work."

Its relationship with AT&T in the U.S. will follow a similar strategy providing a portfolio of products -- like tablets and smartphones aligned with its carrier. Aero is just part of a similar ensemble. Dell seeks revenues from the overall portfolio of products rather than depend on stellar performance of a single product. Probably we will see a few more launches from Dell in keeping with this strategy, however, we do know that its Windows 7 based "Lighting" is due.

Ibtimes

International Business Times, The Global Business News Leader

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