The rumors started in April: Dell might be looking to expand
beyond its computer roots into the smart phone space. The company said nothing.Dell-logo

Then came the leaked pictures. Blurry, but they had a taste
of reality to them. The company said nothing.

Now the company’s talking – but it’s stopping just short of
saying “we’re doing one”. What’s the holdup?

"What operators want from us is a [smart phone]
solution that's about supporting their technology…and their value-added
services," Ron Garriques, president of Dell's consumer division, told
analysts at a gathering last week.

 Here’s what’s
suspected about Dell’s smart phone plans:

  • It
    will be touch-screen centric, like the iPhone.
  • It
    will use Google’s Android operating system
  • It
    probably won’t be limited to a single cell phone provider. (Garriques hinted the company has been talking with the top three
    or four carriers to assess their needs and desires)
  • It may not launch in the U.S. (At least one analyst believes
    Dell may use China as a test market.)

Other speculation, including launch dates, is completely
unreliable at this point.

Garriques came to Dell from Motorola and
his non-compete agreement reportedly expired earlier this year, which has added
fuel to the smart phone fire. Add it all up and it’s pretty obvious Dell is
gearing up to make a move. So why won’t it just come out and say so?

Well, it’s possible the company may reverse course. It
wouldn’t be the first company to build out a prototype of a new sort of hardware
only to change its mind. (Nintendo has done so several times, including a
scuttled handheld gaming system that was developed after the launch of the DS.)

That seems unlikely, though. It’s more likely that Dell
wants to manage the release of the announcement. But as interest in its smart phone
plans continues to grow, that’s going to mean more and more leaks – reducing the
impact of the announcement when Dell makes it official.

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