Today, GigaOM posted a nicely written, in-depth interview with Michael Dell. During the interview, GigaOM auteur Om Malik asked a number of questions. Some were specifically about smartphones. The following is excerpted from Malik's interview:
Om: Any plans for mobile phones or smartphones?
Dell: We are certainly looking at the whole smartphone category, but I wouldn't expect anything anytime soon.
Om: With the emergence of Google's Android, and with Symbian OS and Microsoft Mobile already on the market, do you think that makes it easier for Dell to get into the phone business?
Dell: What you've got [are] industry-standard platforms upon which applications are being built and ecosystems are being created, and that kind of building-block architecture gives us all sorts of opportunities.
Om: You can be a big game-changer in this market, right? You can decide to work with Android or Symbian. Is there a desire on your part to work with one over the other?
Dell: We're not ready to publicly disclose our plans there … we're kind of working on that.
Hmm. Very interesting. So Dell is looking at smartphones as a category of devices and it admits that it sees big opportunities there. (Duh.)
Malik asked a great question about Android versus Symbian, and I think that Dell's answer in pretty evasive. Dell already has been rumored to be working on a smartphone running the Android platform. This is certainly possible, but unlikely.
Given Dell's history with Windows Mobile devices (its now-defunct line of Axim PDA) and its focus on serving business customers, I have a hard time believing that Dell would chose any OS other than Windows Mobile. Based on conversations I've had with analysts, Android is a long way from becoming a trusted enterprise smartphone platform, and Windows Mobile is widely proven in that regard.
As always, all we can do is sit back and wait for Dell to do something interesting.