The Dell smartphone rumor mill is spinning again, and this time the Wall Street Journal is to blame. According to its sources, Dell is working on a couple of prototype models–one Android, one Windows Mobile–that could debut as early as next month at the Mobile World Congress. The details are pretty sparse at the moment, but one device supposedly has a touchscreen, while the other has a slide-out keyboard like the T-Mobile G1. Dell’s selling point is its focus on “customization”, adds WSJ. I’m not sure if that’s hardware, software, or Modu-like customization.
This isn’t the first time a Dell smartphone rumor has surfaced. An analyst reported earlier this month that his look into Dell’s supply chain supported the smartphone rumor which first began way back in 2007. It does seem like a natural market for Dell to enter to expand its profit margins. Once nothing more than a mail-order PC maker, Dell eventually made laptops and netbooks. The next step is a smartphone and the company has the hardware know-how and manufacturing capacity to do it.
It’s likely though, that Dell would have to outsource the software and interface development to another company, or acquire one with the needed capacity. I haven’t heard of anything in regards to this though, so I’m just speculating.
I’m also not sure if the Mobile World Congress would be the best place for Dell to debut its phones, if they actually exist. The premier focus in Barcelona will be on Android-based phones. General Mobile, Huawei, possibly ASUS, and others all plan to roll out Android handsets there, putting Dell in a position where it has to bring something amazing to the table to rise above.
Personally I’m not a big fan of Windows Mobile, but Microsoft could release WinMo 6.5 at MWC along with its cloud computing services and Skymarket app store. If that’s the case, and Dell has a WinMo 6.5 handset there, the company would have a better chance. Especially as Dell traditionally has appealed to business consumers of which many appreciate Windows Mobile. That is, unless Dell names the thing “MePhone”, a possibility according to Silicon Alley Insider.
Of course, right now this is all rumor and innuendo. But if Dell really has a couple of smartphones in the pipes, we’ll hear more about them before MWC. Guaranteed. Or at least before September 9, the rumored shipping date.
(Image Credit: Auntie P)