Personal computers are so old hat. Smartphones are where it’s at. In line with that trend, Dell Inc. (DELL) is reportedly preparing to make its move into the smartphone space. And it won’t be the first time.
According to an article published by The Wall Street Journal today, Dell could announce its intentions around smartphones as early as next month and has had some engineers working out of Chicago on such an effort for more than a year. The Chicago group prototyped Dell smartphones based on both Google Android and Microsoft Windows Mobile software, according to the report.
But whether Dell, which is losing marketshare in the PC market, actually will go forward with the smartphone effort remains a question of considerable debate. Launching into this new area for Dell would be a big challenge considering the long list of existing competitors, including strong players like Apple and Research in Motion. That’s not to mention the problematic economy, which is slowing growth of consumer electronics on a number of fronts – smartphones being no exception.
Dell a few years ago took a stab at the wireless handset space with a PDA called the Axim, which the company reportedly quickly abandoned after deciding smartphones were where it’s at. According to Gizmodo, Dell then (in spring of 2007) contracted Quanta Computer to build it a smartphone for launch by the end of 2007. We’re not clear on the specifics of what happened with that effort.
In any case, some believe the fact that Dell in February 2007 recruited former Motorola cell phone guy Ron Garriques to join the company indicates it may be more serious about the smartphone market this time around.