Dell set to unleash killer smartphone?

dell_androidThe smartphone market used to be reserved just to business types and nerds, but now everyone wants an iPhone or Palm Pre; Dell likely wants a piece of that action and might have a smartphone ready. It could be unveiled as soon next month at 3GSM or the Mobile World Congress. But does Dell have the goods needed to make a killer smartphone that stands out from the cool kids?

The Palm Pre made a huge splash last week at CES, partly due to the sleek looking form factor which is a large departure from the Palm Treo or Centro stodgy form factor. Dell would have to find the same mojo ’cause design matters these days. A great OS (more on that later) doesn’t mean squat if it’s loaded on grey box-type phone.

Thankfully, Dell picked up the driving force behind the Motorola RAZR back in 2007 and slapped the title President of Consumer Business on his nameplate. Hopefully, if Dell does indeed have a smartphone coming, Ron Garriques will be able to steer the huge PC maker in the right direction in terms of design and also away from the Windows Mobile Platform.

Windows Mobile is dying a slow death. It’s still one of the most popular operating systems on mobile devices, right behind Symbian in terms of install base, but hopefully Dell isn’t betting it all on the antiquated platform. What a Dell smartphone really needs is a solid Android or Symbian UI for the smartphone, but chances are Dell will turn to Microsoft’s deep coffers.

Dell and Microsoft have a long history together and they both need an ace in the latest smartphone marathon. But unless Microsoft has recoded Windows Mobile into a stellar system, this phone would be simply cast aside in favor of a better OS no matter how good the hardware happens to be.

So, here’s hoping that Dell does have a non-Windows Mobile smartphone ready to drop and that it’s competitively priced too. Oh, and on a good carrier.