The rumors are stacking up sky high, but considering their source is the Wall Street Journal, they probably have a lot of substance. The bottom line is that Dell could be launching an Android Phone called the “MePhone” as early as next month.
About a year ago we heard rumors of Dell pushing into the mobile market with an Android Phone through their Alienware brand. While those rumors were very loose, reports by the WSJ indicate that Dell actually has 2 working prototypes – one running Android and one with Windows Mobile. Their form factors resemble the iPhone’s touchscreen only approach and the G1’s touchscreen with keyboard but its unclear which prototype runs which platform.
We should all be excited but temper that excitement with a dose of reality – Dell is known for creating working prototypes of products and eventually canning them. In fact, they did that just last year with an MP3/Media player. Even so, the move into the mobile space flat out makes sense for Dell and with only one Android handset on the market, the window of opportunity is wide open and right in front of them.
Dell used to be the world’s biggest PC manufacturer but have fallen to #2 after being supplanted by HP. As smartphones become increasing more capable, you could probably consider them as computers themselves. And if that were the case, Nokia would beat both Dell and HP with number of units sold in 2008. The future is in mobile and right now Dell is on the sideline watching Apple, a computer company, dominate the market ideology. We know Acer wants a piece of the action and to be honest, Dell would be stupid not to pursue manufacturing of a mobile device.
That being said, it is possible that even if Dell DID release a phone that it would based on Windows Mobile. In that case we would likely cry ourselves to sleep but lets face it – it is possible. The other issue is Dell will not want to spoil the world’s appetite by launching a sub-par product, branding their foray into mobile with a bad image. Although if they stick to the name “MePhone”, some may think they’re well on their way.
Another interesting tidbit is pointed out by Reuters:
Dell hired Ron Garriques, Motorola’s former cell phone chief, to re-energize its consumer products division. But, under a non-compete agreement, Garriques was barred from working on mobile phones until February 2009.
Please note the date of this article. We’ll be keeping a curious eye on Dell, praying they go with Android and crossing our fingers we’ll see something at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in a few weeks.