In four years of writing for Fool.com I've learned two things:
- Mr. Market is crazy.
- 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: