Rumors have been around for years that Dell would ship a phone, one day. Now the noise is reaching levels that make me think it is happening for real. The Wall Street Journal this morning confirmed the last rumor: Dell will have two phones out for MWC in Barcelona (which starts to look like a pretty juicy event, we need one ;-)
One phone is going to be Android and one Windows Mobile.
The name? MePhone.
Really?? MePhone like iPhone but Me instead of I. A mix of iPhone and MobileMe? Naaah, I can't believe it. Not for a second. It must be a codename.
Whatever the name, the move is interesting. The choice of OSs even more. Not because either one does not make sense: Dell is a big Microsoft partner and Windows Mobile fits the bill. Android is an OS that gives Dell control of its future and it sounds quite reasonable (we'll see plenty of those at MWC, I am sure).
It is interesting because they did not choose ;-) Coming out with an open source OS and a closed source one is a no-choice. A way of saying "We do not know what the market will do, so we'll let it choose for us". A way to keep Microsoft calm and open a door to the future (which is open source, however biased I am). Let them fight and see who wins. Nobody gets upset.
On the other side it also says "we are not investing our own time and resources on this". I mean, it is an experiment. We are not committed 100%. We are not placing a bit bet. Just a bet. And then we'll see.
I think it is a smart move. They do not take risk, they do not expose themselves too much, they will pick the winner later. The only risk of not making a move is not making a move. If the market moves too fast (it always does) they risk to be defocused and have to jump on one bandwagon quickly, dropping the other one. Motorola has done exactly that. But they are desperate. Dell is not.
My prediction is that they will ship both for a long time, lowering the focus on Windows Mobile over time and putting all their resources on Android quickly enough. This will happen quite shortly, in a few quarters.