Dell offers to replace flawed Venue Pro handsets

Dell on Thursday acknowledged that some of its recently shipped Venue Pro smartphones have issues relating to Wi-Fi connectivity and mislabeled batteries, and is offering customers replacements.

Dell started shipping the smartphone on Monday, and blog sites shortly began reporting that some Venue Pro customers were not able to connect to secure Wi-Fi networks. A blog site, TheNextWeb, also reported that some smartphones came with batteries labeled “Engineering Samples,” raising concerns that those devices were not final production units.

Dell in a blog entry posted Thursday acknowledged both issues, and said it would allow dissatisfied customers to swap phones starting next week.

The company confirmed that some of its Venue Pro smartphones had issues connecting to protected Wi-Fi networks, which “resulted from a software glitch during Dell’s manufacturing process,” the company said in its blog. The Wi-Fi issues are not related to issues in hardware or the Windows Phone 7 OS, the company said.

The Wi-Fi issues affected some “initial phone shipments,” and the company is offering replacements for affected customers who purchased the smartphones on Monday or Tuesday at Microsoft retail stores.

Dell is also offering replacements for customers with smartphones containing batteries that were mistakenly labeled as samples. Dell said the batteries shipped and sold through the Microsoft retail stores were “indeed production quality,” but were mislabeled at the factory due to an oversight.

Customers seeking replacements for either issue may return to Microsoft retail stores and swap old phones for new models beginning at the end of next week.

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