The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Dell is working on a mobile Internet device that would run on Google's Android operating system and compete with Apple's iPod Touch, which is basically an iPhone without the phone service.
It's tough to say whether this device will ever see the light of day. The Journal story cites unnamed sources, one of which who says that device may make it to market in the second half of 2009, could be delayed or be scrapped altogether.
The latter wouldn't be unheard of for Dell. Last year, there was talk about a Dell-branded music player that would use the software from Zing, a company that was acquired by Dell in 2007. But that player never materialized and Dell, in a blog post last year, acknowledged some misinformation spreading through the blogosphere and said its efforts were "never about a music player." In its story today, the WSJ noted:
People familiar with the effort said Dell began developing the device last year, after the company aborted an attempt to compete with Apple in the music-player business. Some of the engineers working on the music player were then assigned to help develop the small mobile device. One Dell engineer has been in charge of customizing Google's free Android software, which is currently used in cellphones, for the device, they said.
Earlier this year, Dell appointed an executive, Ain McKendrick, to be in charge of mobile Internet devices at the company. The Dell spokesman said that as the senior director and general manager of mobile Internet devices at Dell, Mr. McKendrick role involves "looking at future products in play for future consideration."
Dell did not comment on the Journal's story.