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Dell Eying Smartphone Market

By Luke Simpson

With its market share in the personal computer business slipping, Dell may be the next computer company to enter the cell phone market.

According to The Wall Street Journal, engineers at Dell have produced two smartphone prototypes: one with a touch screen similar to Apple’s iPhone and another with a slide-out keypad. The prototypes reportedly use operating systems Android and Windows Mobile.

Dell would not comment on the article.

Speculation about Dell’s cell phone plans heated up when former Motorola mobile phone division head Ron Garriques went to Dell in early 2007. Garriques’ non-compete clause expires next month, according to the Journal report.

If Dell does release a smartphone, it will enter a market that saw sales of $157 million in 2008, up 26.9 percent from 2007. However, simply building a smartphone may not be enough, according to industry analyst Jeff Kagan.

“Not all smartphones are doing equally well. Some are hotter than others. BlackBerry was hot during the last month or two with their two new units being sold by AT&T and Verizon. Palm looks like it will be healthy again with their new handset expected during the next few months,” Kagan noted. “So will Dell devices hit a home run or will they just hit a single? That is the big question.” [Wireless Week]

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