Dell to enter smartphone market in Feb‾

Dell is to enter the mobile phone market, perhaps as soon as next month, by making and selling smartphones, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Dell, the world's second largest PC maker (after HP), has apparently been working on a prototype for a year. The article said the phones will run Google's Android operating system and Microsoft's Windows Mobile software, and that at least one model that has been worked on has a touchscreen, pitting it directly against Apple's iPhone.

However, Dell has not finalized its plans and may abandon them, the report said.

Perhaps because competing against Apple turns out to be much harder than it looks‾ Research firm iSuppli reckons RIM's touchscreen BlackBerry Storm costs almost $30 more to produce than the iPhone 3G. See BusinessWeek article  for full story.

iSuppli said the Storm, which RIM launched late last year to take on the iPhone, has materials and manufacturing costs of $202.89 versus Apple's $174.33 for the initial production costs of an 8-gigabyte iPhone 3G.

It said the Storm's total component count stands at 1,177, while the iPhone's is 1,116.

On Wednesday, Verizon Wireless said it had sold 1 million units of the Storm in the US since its November launch, Reuters reported.

Separately, Reuters  quoted the IT consultancy IDC, which expects smartphone shipments to climb 8.9% globally in 2009, outstripping the decline in the worldwide mobile phone market.