In four years of writing for 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:

Dell and Palm are Stock Advisor selections. Dell is also an Inside Value pick. Try either of these market-beating services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe. and Rule Breakers contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of Nokia at the time of publication. Find his portfolio here and his latest blog commentary here. I called The Motley Fool's disclosure policy collect last night. It hung up on me.