Is Dell too late for the smartphone party?

Dell CEO Michael Dell today added fuel to the rumors that the company is planning to release a smartphone or mobile internet device. But is Dell getting into the game too late?

Dell CEO Michael Dell today added fuel to the rumors that the company is planning to release a smartphone or mobile internet device. But is Dell getting into the game too late?

It is true that we are exploring smaller-screen devices. We don't have any announcements to share today, but stay tuned as when we have new news we will share that with you.

"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."

If you believe the rumors that are currently flying around, Dell already has a smartphone prototype that's making the rounds of the big US carriers, and the company has placed an order with Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. to build the device as soon as a carrier is hooked.

Now, a couple of years ago this would have been big news. Massive news. Huge news. But today, in a market where we have the iPhone and Android, I'm not so sure how much of a splash Dell can make. Sure, a lot of buzz and hype will surround anything that comes from Dell, but at the dollars and cents level, breaking into the smartphone market could be be a long, hard, expensive endeavor. In fact, unless Dell can pull something really special out of the hat, something that feels as special as the iPhone (right now the iPhone is killing the competition), all Dell will be doing is trying to edge into a market that's already struggling to come to terms with how Apple shook everything up.

Dell could try to compete based on price, after all, the company has an amazing track record of driving down prices. Problem with that is that there's no end to how cheap a cellphone can get.

Does Dell have what it takes to enter the smartphone market?

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