Michael Dell Plans Android

In four years of writing for Fool.com I've learned two things:

  1. Mr. Market is crazy.
  2. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) is always good for a rumor.

Today's chart-topper? Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) is working on a smartphone based on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) forthcoming Android mobile operating system. Talk about a sexy headline.

Look out iPhone, here comes ... Dellphone! (Delldroid? Delldingy?)

Kidding aside, if Dell does plan on entering the smartphone business it wouldn't be much of a surprise. Not to me, at least. Former Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) mobile majordomo Ron Garriques now leads Dell's consumer group.

And let's remember that the PC prince was for years an also-ran in the handheld computing market, badly lagging Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) , Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , and Hewlett-Packard.

So, let's concede that there's a better than average chance this rumor is true. Can a Dellphone succeed? I doubt it.

And not because the market is crowded. To the contrary; since last year, four firms have emerged in what has become a tightening race for dominance. Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) is the global leader. Samsung is a player in emerging markets. RIM is still tops here in the U.S. And the iPhone, doubts aside, has every appearance of being the new, new, mobile thing.

Notice that I didn't mention Motorola, which is losing market share and executing poorly. If a one-time monster like Mr. Moto can't compete in this market, what makes Dell -- hardly the innovator -- think it can?

Garriques has probably already scripted an answer. I hope it's a good one, sir. Android may, indeed, bring iPhone-like features to a Dellphone. But with Google's deals with Samsung, Nokia, and others, it'd be one of many rather than one of a kind, as the iPhone is.

There's a word for devices like that: also-ran. Sound familiar?

Brrrrring! It's related Foolishness calling:


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