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Is it Still a Party if Dell Enters?

After years spent pondering, Dell looks ready to take the plunge into the smartphone pool.



) --


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ready a dazzling me-too smartphone assault.

It took a few attempts and a couple of stumbles, but PC titans Dell and Microsoft appear to have a few entries in the works for the mobile market.

Dell Lightning

The first of the Dell phones, according to


, is a vertical slider called

Dell Lightning

, which features a 4.1 inch LED touchscreen, the

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Snapdragon processor, and a full-Qwerty keyboard. The pictures and specifications sheet was "the mother of all Dell leaks," according to the gadget blog.

The Lightning looks to be headed to


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this fall. And following up next year, if the info is true, Dell will have a non-sliding


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Android-powered Thunder with a bigger camera and Smoke a long slender Google phone, both compatible with AT&T's network.

Dell's long-awaited entry into the smartphone race promises to be a bit disruptive to the field of players already scrambling to gain or hold on to their slices of the market.

The news cannot be welcomed by the likes of







Research In Motion


, which have seen consumers grow attracted to


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The greater fear for investors is that Dell will bring its deep pockets and low cost business model to a young smartphone industry. Dell could be crushing to outfits like Palm, already struggling with dwindling cash and just hoping to stay in the game long enough to find a takeover deal.

By the way, you can now take Dell off the list of Palm suitors with this strong move into Windows and Android software.

For Microsoft, the move pairs it with a trusted partner and Dell seems willing to work with the new Windows Phone 7 software in a bold bid by Microsoft to reenter the mobile market.

And Dell makes RIM look even more late in its effort to deliver on its

recent promise

of an impressive new crop of BlackBerries to keep its loyal fans happy.

Welcome to the

gates of Dell


--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.