Print 21 comment(s) - last by robinthakur.. on Feb 2 at 6:26 AM

Sources say Dell has been working on an iPhone-like touchscreen smartphone for over a year

The economy is down meaning that sales of computers and other technology items like high-end TVs have slowed greatly. The slow sales of computers have hurt many firms in the technology world from the computer maker to the suppliers of the components inside the machines.

While the computer industry is shrinking, the smartphone market has continued to grow as more people look to their phones to offer some of the same functionality that they are used to seeing on a PC like internet access.

Dell has been rumored to enter into the smartphone market for a while now and according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), sources say Dell's first smartphone could launch as early as next month. Dell reportedly has had engineers working on phones in a Chicago office under a veil of secrecy for over a year.

Dell reportedly even kept many managers and executives in the dark about its phone operations. WSJ sources claim that Dell will focus exclusively on the booming smartphone market, a niche that is currently owned by the Apple iPhone. One device is said to use a touch screen and an onscreen keyboard like the iPhone and another is said to be a slider with a keyboard underneath.

Dell reportedly has yet to finalize its plans and could opt to back out of the phone market altogether. If the computer maker opted to back out of the smartphone market after spending time and money to develop the product, it wouldn’t be the first time the firm has done so.

Dell may see the smartphone market as a way to bolster its business during one of the worst times in the technology market in years. Dell has seen profits shrink in the face of reduced consumer spending and has lost its spot at the top of the computer maker charts.

According to IDC, Dell lost market share last quarter falling to 13.7% of the computer market. Revenues for the same period dropped 3% and profits slipped 5%. Dell hired a former Motorola executive named Ron Garriques from Motorola in 2007. Garriques has been under a non-compete agreement that prevented him from working on phones for Dell since his hiring. The non-compete agreement expires next month adding fuel to the speculation flames.

IDC reports that in 2008 157 million smartphones were sold globally, up 26.9% compared to 2007. Smartphone shipments are expected to continue with robust growth with predictions claiming 301 million units will be sold by 2012.

May PC makers are also in the smartphone market including Asus and Apple. Dell rival Acer is also set to enter the smartphone market with a launch of an unnamed smartphone set for next month at the GSMA Mobile World Congress.

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What OS?
By superflex on 1/30/2009 2:51:01 PM , Rating: 1
Android hopefully. Please not WM.

And please dont tie yourself to one carrier.

RE: What OS?
By noirsoft on 1/30/2009 6:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
I hope WM. I still feel it is the best mobile OS out there.

RE: What OS?
By Targon on 1/31/2009 5:01:13 AM , Rating: 3
The new WebOS from Palm sounds like it is very nice though. Once consumers really get a chance to play with it, it is possible that it will take the market by storm.

While Windows Mobile may seem nice, it isn't the most stable thing out there, and I personally hate the UI, which is why I have avoided devices based on it.

RE: What OS?
By noirsoft on 1/31/2009 1:14:22 PM , Rating: 3
I don't say that I like WM best because it "seems nice" I say from 4 years of experience with WM phones (and more of previous PocketPC models) -- I prefer them because the other smartphones I've tried lack in features (iPhone) or seem rushed (Android)

Nor do I have stability problems. My friends with iPhones report occasional crashes too.

RE: What OS?
By JoshuaBuss on 2/1/2009 9:34:31 PM , Rating: 2
the Axim was the best windows mobile PDA available. If dell just re-relerased the X50v with winmo 6.5 and the proper cellphone technologies, it'd be a great device!

RE: What OS?
By robinthakur on 2/2/2009 6:26:55 AM , Rating: 1
I owned three HTC Wimo devices and let me tell you, that when I finally got an iPhone (original version) it was like mana from heaven!! Finally a phone which looked good, where the touch screen reacted as you would expect it to with finger touch and no stylus required and where the OS was designed competantly to be a mobile phone first and foremost. Regarding lacking in features, the Appstore has made this sort of thing null and void for me. If only Wimo apps were this easy to install and use, then I might have bought and installed more than a couple of them. If you're one of those obsessed with copy paste functionality, i hardly used it in 4 years on my HTC's or blackberry, so I don't exactly miss it, though it would be nice to have eventually.

The Wimo phones were fairly stable in the sense that they rarely completely crashed, but I was never able to hold a conversation over 3G with them for more than a few minutes and had to keep disabling them to GSM to make calls. Wifi likewise hardly worked (It worked once) on my TYTN. I also found the OS cluttered, the handset's plasticky and cheaply made and the general design lacking (like needing a USB adaptor to plug in your own headphones). They were generally just a bit too temperamental and hit and miss which is the worst thing in a device you sometimes depend on. All things considered, they might have been the best devices out at the time in terms of what you could do with them, but usability of them as a phone seemsed to have been very rarely considered. This is no longer the case as better devices are now available (like the iPhone or any Android device, so I fully expect Wimo sales to decrease steadily to nothing.

Needless to say, I will not be going back to Wimo, it seems like yesterday's OS, designed by somebody with OCD and I'm pleased to say that this is also the way the market feels as sales are dropping. A tiny version of windows which requires a stylus to use properly was never actually a very good idea, keyboard or not. So, to Apple, credit where credit's due. The only time WiMo seemed appealing was after I sent back my SE P990 in disgust, but then most phones would seem perfect compared to that travesty...

RE: What OS?
By akugami on 1/30/2009 11:28:31 PM , Rating: 2
While an Android phone is not out of the question from Dell, most likely it will be Windows Mobile or Symbian based.

RE: What OS?
By mikecel79 on 1/31/2009 8:16:39 AM , Rating: 2
According to ZDNet they are going to release both an Android and WM based phone.

RE: What OS?
By TMV192 on 1/31/2009 1:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
well first of all I'd like to say that I'm surprised there was no mention of Axim anywhere on this page, but considering their WinMo roots, they might go with it, but what I'd like to see is WinCE instead with heavy customization. It would be more unique while still very powerful. While Android is an opensource project, Windows from what I've seen is actually more open in terms of what people can create, there's no "app store" restrictions

RE: What OS?
By ipay on 2/1/2009 2:15:32 AM , Rating: 2
Considering DELL's history of being exclusively an Windows/Intel shop for the good amount of their history, and also considering it's their first entry into the mobile market, I'm pretty convinced they'll go with Windows Mobile. I wish it wasn't so but let's face it, DELL does not like the risk. Remember how long it took them to sell AMD boxes after it was a dominant processor a few years back? And what about the long hesitation to preload linux on some of their boxes, how much public outcry and pleading did that take. I really hope I'm wrong but I think it'll be Windows Mobile. DELL in mobile - new dog same old tricks..

Here's hoping....
By Shadowself on 1/30/2009 2:47:12 PM , Rating: 2
Here's hoping Dell's not going to try to build some cheap, lowest common denominator smart phone in a attempt to cash in on this growing market just to sell 100M or more units each year. But I somehow suspect if they actually ship anything that is exactly what Dell will do.

RE: Here's hoping....
By rudy on 1/30/2009 10:21:21 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, dell is good at one thing, running an extremely efficient business with a low bottom line and turning profits. They are an iconic corporation.

They are not a leader in any market though as far as development. But if you need a good computer for a good price they are the way to go. All of the new markets they have tried have been against their business model IMO. Like they have an all in one PC that is just so high priced, same with the tablet laptop they came out with. We had hoped they would bring value to these markets but instead they just brought out another over priced product. I expect their smart phone will be similar.

RE: Here's hoping....
By 67STANG on 1/31/2009 1:48:41 AM , Rating: 2
They should just sell a pay-as-you-go phone at 7-11. That way you can go back to the store for genuine Dell support.

And Russia says...
By Bender 123 on 1/30/2009 2:22:38 PM , Rating: 1
"Michael Dell, we are not in need of your "smart" phones. We are disabled in our minds and incapable of accomplishing things without your extra smartness."
-Vlad Putin

RE: And Russia says...
By napalmjack on 1/30/2009 4:16:48 PM , Rating: 1
In Soviet Russia, smart phones you!!

RE: And Russia says...
By BruceLeet on 1/30/2009 8:59:10 PM , Rating: 2
Lol, B for effort.

Lawsuit waiting to happen
By dj LiTh on 1/30/2009 2:53:26 PM , Rating: 5
A phone that requires your fingers to use them? OMG They sooooo stole that idea from apple!


RE: Lawsuit waiting to happen
By icanhascpu on 1/30/09, Rating: -1
single or multi-touch......
By SlipDizzy on 1/30/2009 3:14:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I hope this isn't a multi-touch device or Steve Jobs is going to nerd-rage all over Mr. Dell's face.

RE: single or multi-touch......
By mondo1234 on 1/30/2009 8:43:06 PM , Rating: 2
If its anything else, Balmer with throw a chair at him.

So thats what ends the world!
By icanhascpu on 1/30/2009 4:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
Smartphone shipments are expected to continue with robust growth with predictions claiming 301 million units will be sold by 2012.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
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