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Dell Venue Pro Smartphone Shipment Delayed

The shipping date for Dell's Venue Pro smartphone has been pushed back indefinitely, as the company looks to recover from the damage of a major blunder.

Dell's new Venue Pro Windows Phone 7 smartphone was supposed to begin shipping last week, but Dell has delayed new Venue Pro shipments while it tries to fix problems with those that customers have already purchased.

A Dell spokesperson on Tuesday confirmed the delay without offering a time frame for the new shipment date, although several online forums say the devices will begin shipping on Jan. 6.

"As you know, we’ve had several issues reported with this product," the spokesperson said in a post to Dell's support forum. "Right now, Dell is trying to coordinate a plan with Microsoft to address these issues for the early adopters. From what I understand, it may require another hardware swap. Further, the Venue Pros are being reworked in the factories to address some of the issues and we are awaiting these changes so the product can ship. This is affecting new orders as well."

"While I agree that this was not the best mobile device launch, I hope you take comfort in the fact that there is a good reason for the delays - fixing issues," the spokesperson said.

Dell began taking orders for the Venue Pro on Dec. 1 and had intended to start shipments on Dec. 9. Some customers have already purchased Venue Pros from Microsoft retail stores, but these early adopters have reported problems with the device's SIM card, Wi-Fi connectivity and battery life, which have been discussed on Dell's community support forum during the past few weeks.

Customers have been growing frustrated over Dell's lack of clear communication on Venue Pro issues. Perhaps most disconcerting are assertions that Dell told several of those customers that their device had already shipped, although these reports would suggest otherwise.

Dell's issues with communication exposed in online forums undercut the company's efforts to use social media to its advantage. Last year Dell said it has made $3 million off of Twitter through its @ Dell Outlet. The company has also used its community support forums to communicate with Dell users. Nevertheless, different Dell representatives have reportedly said different things to various dissatisfied customers.

Next: System Builders On Dell's Strategy

Dell's system builder channel partners have questioned Dell's mobile strategy and adoption of the Windows Phone 7 platform.

Dell last month discontinued its communications solutions group, in charge of devices like the Venue Pro and the Dell Streak, and absorbed the unit into other parts of its corporate structure.

The Venue Pro is available for pre-order on the company's site at a starting price of $449 for the 8 GB version and $499 for the 16 GB version, without a contract.

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