Dell is planning to launch a smartphone based on Google's Android mobile platform at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, according to a report.

A report in MarketingWeek cited "senior industry sources" who claimed that the two companies will reveal plans for a partnership, although Dell and Google have so far declined to comment.

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John Byrne, an analyst at Technology Business Research, said he plans to follow up with both companies at next week's event. "Supposedly, there is a possible [handheld] they are announcing on the Android platform," he said.

Byrne, like many other analysts, has been following plans for Android open-source development, and said he has viewed the images of Android applications on the Open Handset Alliance website.

"So far, it is vapourware and images," he said.

Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said he had not heard about a Dell-Google partnership. "In my opinion, Dell would not be smart to get into the phone business," he said.

Dulaney speculated that Dell might instead announce an internet tablet PC running Android and using Intel chips along the lines of Intel's Mobile Internet Device (MID) concept. Intel talked about MIDs at the International Consumer Electronics Show as a possible end point for users of WiMax high-speed wireless networks.

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