Remember the Dell Aero Android smartphone? The one we were allowed to fondle but not turn on at CTIA? (And the one that, yes, can't run unsigned apps?) Well, the guys at Engadget managed to get their hands on a live one. And from what we've seen, they can have it.

We're not at all against putting a good skin on top of Android, but what Josh shows us doesn't look anything like a good skin on top of Android -- especially that keyboard. Basically it's some rather sleek (and almost sexy hardware), with a UI that makes us wonder (yet again) why some companies can't leave well enough alone. [Engadget]

(Oh, and Phil's alternate post, in a single sentence: "OK, now it's crippled.")

 
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We see the Dell Aero's software and kind of wish we hadn't ...

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but....but....it still has the phone app and the gmail app and the market place!!! according to you, anything that has that can NEVER be crippled.../sarcasm

In all fairness no matter what your stance is on using the term "crippled" on a phone I think it's okay to call this thing crippled and I work for Dell. They sent out this newsletter a couple weeks ago bragging about it being the first Android phone for AT&T (completely ignoring the Moto Backflip) and how awesome and amazing it's going to be. Well, I can tell it isn't awesome nor amazing and I think this one needs a little more time in the oven.

I would guess not for a while Phil. But we are glad you do see it our way now! AT&T cripples everything but the iPhone to get everyone to move over to their flagship.

wow, you are totally correct. according to engadget:

"The UI has been completely reskinned, and there are multiple skins available -- but also missing is Google Maps, Gmail, and a handful of other Google-centric features... like the Android Market."

that is just insane, hopefully this is just because it isn't fully developed or something.

The tinfoil-hat-wearing side of my brain blames the iPhone ... Cripple its biggest competitor and you can sell a few extra phones ("We have Android, too!") without pissing off Cupertino.

Gawd I hope you're wrong. The way Android is growing this may turn out to be a huge PR goof for AT&T if what we see here is what we get. And really, how long can the iPhone cash cow keep putting out milk? Nothing lasts forever, no matter how good it is.

Phil -

The listen we learned is: AT&T doesn't care about Android phones and customers. They just care about iPhones. :(

That's way I'm leaving AT&T/iPhone soon and going to get a "real" Android phone at Big Red.

Well i was waiting for Android on AT&T (instead of my rooted G1).
But its not looking so good. If the HTC phone sucks too, then ill plunk down for Nexus One.

Thanks guys!

well the change skins has me 50/50. Change is nice... The keyboard is disgusting, i wonder if you can rotate it for the side keyboard? The home button on the side is the stupidest idea ever!

Jesus Christ! AT&T is most assuredly trying to kill Android. It's no secret that they aren't Google fans. What surprises me though is that Dell would go along with designing phones that aren't going to give a user the full Android experience. That's bad business!

I can't put my finger on it, but it reminded me of the Instinct for some reason. I think it was the browser....

Yep, AT&T is definitely trying to cripple Android. They took a baseball bat to the Motorola Backflip...that thing doesn't even have legs. Locked down, loaded w/ non-removable AT&T apps (an effort to squeeze more $ outta you). Now they're doing the same to the Dell. AT&T continues to swing from the sack of the Jobs. They're sending a clear message...'If you want an Android phone, go somewhere else.'

http://androidandme.com/2010/03/news/att-the-most-crippled-android-exper...

Since I'm locked into AT&T at the moment, I'm so glad I went the Nexus One route. BUT, it is beginning to really scare me watching AT&T literally DESTROY these android devices.

according to engadget, this phone doesnt even have marketplace... or google maps, gmail, etc.... whats an android phone without the marketplace and no way to install apps?

I refuse to accept that this is even an android phone!!!!! if you pull the engine out of a BMW and replace it with a yugo engine is it really still a BMW.

And yes this has become the Yugo of smartphones. I would rather stick with TMO and their outdated phones then go to ATT.

Don't forget the lack of GMail, Google Maps, and yes... the Android Market, also missing from the Aero.

I've been waiting for at&t to release a new smartphone os so I could upgrade from my blackjack 2. Here is where we currently are

android - crippled
webos - delayed
wm7s - not until 4Q & currently half baked

conclusion - buy a Nexus One (ok. some of you said get a new carrier)

I did. It arrived last Thursday. I'm not looking back. In my 4 days with android I can't imagine how you can have an android phone without gmail and google maps. The google services are the center point of the whole freaking phone.

The nexus one is awesome. It is unadulterated android that at&t will never soil.

At the risk of sounding like I'm defending AT&T, it looks like their strategy is to use Android as plumbing for devices they're essentially positioning as feature phones, but have a marketplace of existing apps. I don't think they're intending for the Backflip or the Aero to be seen as "Android" phones or "smartphones," which would explain why they're getting the 1.5/1.6 treatment. The fact that they're powered by Android is incidental. This also keeps His Steveness from taking his business elsewhere.

I brought over my rooted G-1 to AT&T b/c of two things:
-TMOBILE has terrible customer service and I got fed up
-AT&T was bringing out Android devices

Now we are two out of 5 on the market, and they both... suck.

My Hubby got a backflip. It was enough of an Android device for him, but not for me, its a downgrade from my 2yr old rooted & cyanogen modded G-1.

When we walked in to the store to buy his, we asked about android and got directed to the iPhone. I adamantly refused, and the rep showed me the Backflip model. He knew nothing about it. Not one thing about android, or what version it was running or anything.