The gadget would run on Google Inc.'s Android software, these people said. Two people who saw early prototypes described the device as slightly larger than Apple Inc.'s iPod Touch, which is similar to the iPhone but does not have cellphone capabilities.Dell Is Working On Pocket Web Gadget - WSJ.com
Another person who was briefed on the company's plans said Dell may begin selling the device later this year, though this person said the plan could be delayed or scrapped entirely.
The development effort is one of the first experiments by a big-name PC maker in a nascent category of products known as mobile Internet devices, or MIDs,which are designed to fill a perceived gap between mobile phones and laptop computers.
A Dell spokesman declined to comment on any plans for the product category.
Dell may use chips based on designed licensed from ARM Holdings PLC, people familiar with the company's plans said. The Dell spokesman said the company does not currently make any devices that use ARM-based chips.
People familiar with the effort said Dell began developing the device last year, after the company aborted an attempt to compete with Apple in the music-player business. Some of the engineers working on the music player were then assigned to help develop the small mobile device.
Earlier this year, Dell appointed an executive, Ain McKendrick, to be in charge of mobile Internet devices at the company. The Dell spokesman said that as the general manager of mobile Internet devices at Dell, Mr. McKendrick's role involves "looking at future products in play for future consideration."
One person familiar with the effort said Dell has considered selling the product through cellular carriers -- much as Dell, Hewlett-Packard Co. and other computer makers have begun marketing low-end portables called netbooks through cellular providers.
Dell has also been developing several Android-based smart phones that it plans to start selling later this year, according to people briefed on the matter.
Write to Justin Scheck at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Dell Is Working On Pocket Web Gadget - WSJ.com
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