Michael Dell Confirms: Dell Smartphone or MID on the Way

Michael Dell, speaking at Computerworld in Tokyo on March 24, confirmed what analysts and enthusiasts alike already suspected: that the PC giant was at work on a smaller form factor device. Whether that's a smartphone or mobile Internet device remains to be seen. Analysts, pointing to Apple's successful transition to the iPhone, suggest PC makers are positioned for smartphone success.

Dell CEO Michael Dell, speaking at Computerworld in Tokyo March 24, confirmed that the computer company is in fact exploring new, smaller form factors, but it's not clear whether that device is a smartphone, mobile Internet device or both.
"It is true that we are exploring smaller-screen devices," said Michael Dell, during a presentation in Japan. "We don't have any announcements to share today, but stay tuned as when we have new news we will share that with you."
In a research note on March 20, an analyst with financial analysts firm Kaufman Brothers wrote that conversations with industry sources revealed that Dell had been making efforts toward releasing a cell phone, but that carriers weren't showing interest. "The feedback was lack of differentiation vs. current and upcoming products," wrote Shaw Wu.
Wu also wrote that Dell had built prototypes with both Microsoft Windows and Google Android operations systems, but until Tuesday, Dell - neither the man, nor the company - had publicly confirmed such a project was in the works.
But on Tuesday Michael Dell said, "For the last three years, we have integrated 3G radios into our notebooks.
"We already have agreements with many mobile carriers around netbook devices, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect that we would have smaller mobile Internet devices or smartphones in the future," Michael Dell added.
In his research note, analyst Wu nodded to the success Dell might find once it enters this new space.
"We believe PC vendors may have an advantage over traditional cell phone competitors, as a smartphone is more PC than cell phone, with all the computer functionality and voice as a commodity," Wu wrote in the research note.
Further, Wu suggested that Apple's successful transition to the smartphone space was likely serving as inspiration for PC peers Acer, Asustek and Lenovo to "beef up" their smartphone offerings.