After the iPhone and the Gphone, comes the Dphone. After Google followed up Apple's fabulous successful with its own handheld product, computer manufacturer Dell may be the next one to jump in the pool. (See: Google phone set for Tuesday launch)
The Wall Street Journal says Dell has come up with handsets running both Android from Google and Windows Mobile from Microsoft, a version with a touchscreen, just like Apple's iPhone and Pre from Palm, and one with a slide-out QWERTY keypad.
This entry may come as early as next month, making and selling smartphones to revitalise a business walloped by crumbling PC sales. However, Dell has not finalized its plans and may still abandon them, the Journal added without elaborating.
Reiterating Dell's earlier tight-lipped stance on the matter, a Dell spokesman said the company hasn't disclosed any such plans, adding "we haven't committed to anything." But the Journal says the smartphone development team spent much of last year meeting with suppliers of phone components, phone software companies, and Asian phone manufacturers.
Smartphones - high end mobile devices that can assume many of the functions found traditionally on PCs, such as playing videos and music - are the fastest growing segment of the cellphone industry. IT consultancy IDC expects smartphone shipments to climb 8.9 per cent globally in 2009, far outstripping a decline in the overall worldwide cellphone market.
PC giant Dell, which lost its mantle of world's largest PC maker to Hewlett-Packard about two years ago, has toyed with the idea of selling cellphones since early 2007, the Journal said. CEO Michael Dell, who returned in 2007 to the firm he founded, has explored new markets, but earlier attempts to diversify into new areas, including a plan to sell digital music players, were dropped. (See: Michael returns to lead Dell)
Dell hired Ron Garriques, Motorola's former cellphone chief, to re-energise its consumer products division. But, under a non-compete agreement, Garriques was barred from working on mobile phones until February 2009.