The WSJ adds details to our report from two weeks ago regarding Dell’s (DELL) plans to get into the smartphone market. As has been rumoured, Dell could unveil its prototype next month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Dell could still scrap its plans.
- Which software platform Dell is going to use: The WSJ says it’s tested both Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Mobile and Google’s (GOOG) Android.
- If Dell has any wireless carriers on board. Dell has no chance in the wireless business without financial and marketing support from a carrier; preferably many.
How might Dell differentiate itself from other Windows Mobile or Android manufacturers, such as Motorola (MOT), LG, HTC, Sony Ericsson, etc.? The WSJ suggests it could include media syncing software from a company it acquired called Zing.
Why would Dell go into the phone market? It’s looking for growth and the smartphone market is growing. And Dell has actually made some sexy mobile gadgets in the past — its Axim PDAs were very nice.
According to the WSJ, Dell’s prototypes include an iPhone-like device with no physical keyboard and a second phone with a slide-out keyboard. An SAI reader, who claims to be close to Dell, says the company plans “to position themselves with several mobile phone models.”
Dell’s mobile phone team has been working in an office near Chicago, the WSJ’s sources say. Dell’s been rumoured to be getting into the phone business since it hired former Motorola exec Ron Garriques in 2007. But the WSJ says Ron’s noncompete clause with Motorola prevents him from working on a mobile phone until next month. Instead, another former Motorola employee, John Thode, has been working on Dell’s phones, according to the WSJ.
Ron did not return the WSJ’s request for comment. And he didn’t reply to an email we sent him earlier today. We’ve also asked Dell for comment regarding their mobile plans for a story we wrote earlier today. We’ll update if we hear back.