Dell to enter smartphone market?

Rumors are abound that Dell may be entering the smartphone market as early as next month, in order to compete with Apple's iPhone.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the PC maker has been working on a smartphone for more than a year, and that prototypes have been constructed, running Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Mobile. According to sources, one model has been built with a touchscreen (like the iPhone), and another with a slide-out keyboard (like the Palm Pre). It is currently unknown which model will be used, or whether Windows Mobile or Android will be the main OS for the smartphone.

The rumors wouldn't be far off, as Dell has recently hired Ron Garriques, previous head of Motorola's handset division.

"We haven't committed to anything," a Dell spokesman told the Wall Street Journal, meaning that the plans for a Dell-branded smartphone could still be scrapped yet, and nothing is finalized.

Dell could be getting desperate and trying to compete in this new market, as the company is losing PC market share, with a 0.9 percent year-over-year decline last quarter. Additionally, shares of the company's stock have fallen 60 percent since August. Shaw Wu, a Kaufman Brothers' analyst, has said "We believe it makes sense for Dell and other PC makers to pursue more aggressive strategies in the smart phone space".

Dell could possibly announce any news at the GSMA Mobile World Congress, which is on in mid-February. Tom Warren from Neowin will be reporting live from the MWC, so check back for more information.

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Whatever it is, I hope it doesn't look ugly, and it's based on Windows Mobile 6.5, and actually offers something different (but useful) than what every other phone does.

Knowing Dell, it's going to be ugly and brick-like. It's also going to be unreliable, based on the Dell computers. Its probably going to have Windows Mobile...

It would be great! I've been using Dell's PDA - Dell Axim x51v. Just how much I wish it had the phone feature in it too. Its a power horse!

I just hope they don't commit to just one provider. The iPhone is useless to me because AT&T has awful coverage in my area; all I can choose from is Sprint and Alltel (soon Verizon) and their decent phones are too pricey.