Dell is preparing to enter the increasingly crowded smartphone business, according to a Wall Street Journal report, possibly offering both a touch screen alternative to the iPhone and a slide-out keyboard model as soon as next month. The paper of course cites anonymous sources “familiar with the matter” and claims the computer maker has already built prototypes using Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and the Google Android platform – yet the paper also notes that plans are not finalized and that the company may change its mind.

Rumors that Dell is about to enter the smartphone market have been circulating for a couple of years, so this new report saying “Dell may or not release smartphones next month” brings nothing new to the table. However, the timing means that a launch at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in mid-February is one possibility, as it certainly would be the perfect stage to introduce such a product. Meanwhile, Acer's plans are sounding much more solid with a launch all but confirmed to take place at the aforementioned event.