Are Dell, Google planning a phone partnership?

Reports indicate an announcement next week in Barcelona

Speculation is mounting that Dell and Google will announce plans for a smart phone based on the Android platform at the Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona, Spain.

Neither Dell nor Google officials could be reached immediately for comment. But a report in MarketingWeek cited "senior industry sources" who claimed that the two companies will reveal plans for a partnership on a mobile phone at the conference, formerly the 3GSM World Congress.

John Byrne, an analyst at Technology Business Research, said in an interview that he is attending the event and plans to follow up with both companies. "Supposedly, there is a possible [handheld] they are announcing on the Android platform," he said.

Byrne, like many other analysts, has been following plans for Android open source development, and said he has viewed the images of Android applications on the Open Handset Alliance Web site.

"So far, it is vaporware and images," he said.

Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner, said he had not heard about a Dell-Google partnership. "In my opinion, Dell would not be smart to get into the phone business," he said.

Dulaney speculated that Dell might instead announce an Internet tablet PC running Android and using Intel chips along the lines of Intel's Mobile Internet Device (MID) concept. Intel talked about MIDs at the International Consumer Electronics Show as a possible end point for users of WiMax high-speed wireless networks.

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