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Report: Dell smartphone dies a dull death, for now

Back in January, when Dell announced it was working on some iPhone competitors of its own, expectations and excitement were high. Perhaps Dell could leverage its enterprise know-how into building smartphones with enterprise-grade features and functions. But it looks like the excitement was misplaced. Dell's initial offerings were deemed too dull to entice carriers to support them, according to an analyst report.

MarketWatch reports that Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu released a research note revealing that Dell's smartphone prototypes--which were designed to run both Windows Mobile and Google's Android OS--will not be debuting this month as expected. Instead, Dell has been forced to go back to the drawing board, since its initial designs failed to wow the carriers:

"From our conversations with supply chain and industry sources, it appears that it ultimately came down to lack of carrier interest," Wu wrote.

The overwhelming competition in the smartphone space didn't help either. Not only has Apple's iPhone and Google's G1 made huge splashes--and design news--but now Palm is launching its Pre, which is also grabbing the carrier limelight.

Still, Wu underscored that Dell is not giving up and may be looking to grab some design help via acquisition. The whole thing is unfortunate and underscores both the good--and the bad--of carrier influence in the mobile device marketplace. Carriers are currently consumed with the consumer, which is where the money is. But that sometimes leaves enterprises scrambling to find the right device to deploy. While some consumer focus is good and necessary, too much can be a detriment to the enterprise market, which just needs good, stable, yet feature-rich devices whose design doesn't change every 3 weeks or so. Perhaps what Dell was offering was too dull for the carriers--but maybe it was just right for enterprise. Unfortunately, we'll never know.

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