The WSJ is reporting Dell has built prototypes using Google's Android operating system and Windows Mobile, with two versions including sliding keyboard and touch screens.
Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu says in a note that the WSJ story is consistent with his checks and Dell's phone could drop as soon as mid-February. Wu says it makes sense for PC firms to move into phones as high-tech handsets encroach on the notebook space.
Still, it's not going to be an easy road. Apple is the only computer maker to succeed in the smartphone market. Also, it's not clear how Dell would make its phone stand out from customer favorites like the BlackBerry or iPHone. Still, Wu writes, "we believe we are still relatively early in the smart phone adoption cycle and there could be room for a strong No. 3 or perhaps No. 4 player. So Dell has a shot, but the job won't be easy. Wu says, "We believe the company needs to take bigger and bolder steps in order to remain a relevant player." This is certainly a start.
For more on the rise of new competitors in the smartphone space, see "Palm's Pre Is A Huge Bet".