Dell launches Aero notsosmartphone with outdated Android 1.5

Dell has launched its first smartphone in the US, the Android-based Dell Aero, for $299.99 without a contract or $99.99 with a two-year AT&T contract.

The Aero features a 3.5-inch display with a 640×360 resolution and a 5MP camera. It is powered 624Mhz Marvell processor, which is a tad weak compared to many of the 1GHz processor smartphones currently on the market, but it will still get the job done.

It comes with a 2GB microSD card, but can be expanded up to 32GB, and it features WiFi, Bluetooth, and everything else you’d come to expect from a smartphone.

Dell was keen to point out that the Aero has full support for Flash, which Apple’s iPhones no longer support after a public spat between Apple and Adobe over whether or not Flash was insecure and outdated.

Dell also stated the the Aero is now the lightest Android phone on the market, and also significantly lighter than the iPhone, weighing only 3.67 ounces, compared to the iPhone 4’s weight of 4.8 ounces. It is extremely thin and looks pretty, taking a more curved form than the more angular one we’re use to with iPhone copycats.

Where the device fails is with its outdated operating system. In a shocking move that makes us wonder if Dell and AT&T really didn’t want the Aero to succeed, they shipped it with Android 1.5, a version of Google’s OS that harks back to April 2009. Since then we’ve had 1.6 in September 2009, 2.0 in October 2009, 2.1 in January 2010, and 2.2 in May 2010, with 3.0 on the way by the end of the year.

The fact that Dell launched with such an old version of Android is mingboggling and suggests that the Aero was in a very lengthy production process, for whatever reason. Most recently launched devices have Android 2.1 at the very least, if not 2.2. With such a hoopla over updates to the latest version, it seems counter-intuitive to go backwards and launch a new product with an out of date OS.

As much as the device looks good, there will be little incentive to buy such an outdated smartphone.