Dell plots smartphone foray
Los Angeles - Dell Inc is plotting a foray
into the cellphone arena as early as next month, making and
selling smartphones to revitalise a business walloped by crumbling
PC sales and pitting the firm against Apple, the Wall Street
Journal reported on Thursday.
The world's No 2 maker of PCs, which has been designing
prototypes for over a year, is focusing on smartphones - the
class of high-end devices that encompasses Apple's iPhone and
Research in Motion's Blackberry, the newspaper cited people
familiar with the matter as saying.
If launched, the phones will be based on Google's Android
operating system and Microsoft's Windows Mobile software, it said.
One model will even feature a touchscreen, not unlike the
iPhone's, the Journal reported.
However, Dell has not finalised its plans and may still
abandon them, the Journal added without elaborating.
Shares in Dell climbed 1.4 percent in after-hours trade,
barely denting an 8.6% dive during the regular session to
$9.95. Microsoft stock was up 1.3 percent, and Google shares were
High-end mobile devices
Representatives for Dell and Microsoft declined to comment,
and Google representatives were not available for comment.
Smartphones - high end mobile devices that can assume many of
the functions found traditionally on PCs, such as playing videos
and music - are the fastest growing segment of the cellphone
IT consultancy IDC expects smartphone shipments to climb 8.9% globally in 2009, far outstripping a decline in the
overall worldwide cellphone market.
US PC giant Dell, which lost its mantle of world's largest
PC maker to Hewlett-Packard about two years ago, has toyed with
the idea of selling cellphones since early 2007, the Journal
Chief Executive Michael Dell, who returned in 2007 to the firm
he founded, has explored new markets, but earlier attempts to
diversify into new areas, including a plan to sell digital music
players, were dropped.
Dell hired Ron Garriques, Motorola's former cellphone chief,
to re-energise its consumer products division. But, under a
non-compete agreement, Garriques was barred from working on mobile
phones until February 2009.