Carriers turn down Dell cell phone prototypes

— 11:02 AM on March 23, 2009

As we saw last week, Dell had no trouble taking inspiration from Apple's MacBook Air to fashion a competing product. Coming up with an iPhone rival might be a tougher challenge, though. According to an analyst report quoted by MarketWatch, Dell has failed to get traction with its first cell phone prototypes.

Rumors about Dell's efforts first cropped up in January, when we heard that the PC maker had a Google Android handset in the works. That was apparently true, albeit partially—Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu claims Dell designed its prototypes to run software from "both Microsoft . . . and Google." Wu's research note goes on to explain the lack of traction by saying, "From our conversations with supply chain and industry sources, it appears that it ultimately came down to lack of carrier interest."

Dell may have picked up its marbles and gone home, but it's not giving up on the prospect of a cell phone that easily. The company has "gone back to the drawing board" and will come up with a "more distinct model," Wu says. The analyst, however, believes Dell may have to acquire a third party for that strategy to work.

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