According to analyst Shaw Wu, Dell submitted two prototype smartphones for feedback from the carriers, and both were roundly rejected. Why? Well, turns out "Dell-like" is a legitimate adjective, and not necessarily a nice one.

The phones, apparently identical besides OS (one runs Windows Mobile, one Android) were accused of lacking differentiation from competing offerings from HTC, LG, Samsung, Nokia, and others. It takes a lot to get a carrier excited about a phone; Palm had to pretty much make their entire existing line obsolete to get some buzz, and the market is flooded with ho-hum WinMo devices. Dell remains undeterred, however, and is still plugging away, trying to break into the lucrative market. Wu, an analyst at Kaufman Brothers, asserts that Dell is going back to the drawing board to come up with something a little sharper.

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What do we gain from this story? Well, we know that a major hardware company is hard at work on a smartphone, and we've learned that "Dell-like" means "boring." The more you know! [Barron's]