The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) that computer maker Dell is getting ready to enter the smartphone market. According to the report, Dell plans to roll out two products, one based based Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 and the other on Google’s Android mobile platform. One will feature a touchscreen interface while the other will have a slide-out keyboard. Industry watchers say that if an announcement is coming, Dell would likely do it at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona in February, and may announce any carrier partnerships at that time. The Wall Street Journal has Dell eyeing a September launch for the devices.
The Dell smartphones—apparently dubbed “MePhones” in-house—supposedly put a strong emphasis on end-user customization.
Entering the smartphone market would put Dell in direct competition with the likes of Apple, Research in Motion, an Android ecosystem that seems ready to take off, and potentially a resurgent Palm, as well as a variety of established device makers like HTC, Samsung, and Nokia that have been in the smartphone market for some time.
If the rumors pan out, it could mark a major shift in strategy for Dell, which has increasingly been eyeing Apple’s success in media distribution, consumer electronics, and phones. However, Dell’s much-anticipated launch of an iPod competitor has yet to happen…so only time will tell if the company’s rumored entry into the smartphone market is for real.