Photos of purported Dell smartphone surface

The long-rumored Dell smartphone is said to appear in a blurry image posted to a Chinese Web site.

After the Apple iPhone 3G S and Palm Pre, the most gossiped about smartphone is one that may or may not exist.

Dell, which has hinted about getting into the category for more than a year, is supposedly working on a device right now, and the image to the right is said to be a picture of the device.

Dell smartphone Android
A blurry photo of a phone running Android is said to be made by Dell. PDAFans

Engadget posted the photo Monday, and it's from a Chinese Web site called PDAFans.com. Though it's blurry, there's nothing distinguishing about the design of the handset itself besides a Dell logo, and that it appears a bit similar to the Pre. But though this is just a blurry photo posted to a Web forum, those small details seem to line up with other pieces of information that have dribbled out this year.

If it is a Dell phone, it would make sense that someone in China would be able to get their hands on it. There have been rumors that Dell is in talks with China Mobile to develop a partnership for a smartphone in the country. If a partnership were to pan out, Dell's phone could launch in China by the end of the year, according to previous reports.

Zhang Jun, an analyst at research firm Wedge MKII, said in April that in such a scenario, Dell's device would use Open Mobile System, China Mobile's operating system, which is based on Google's Android. In the photo, the phone does seem to be running Android, or some version of it.

But making the handset is just the beginning of what promises to be an uphill battle. Marketing and selling a device in a market clogged with innovative mobile computers will be a challenge for anyone new to the territory. But according to previous reports, Dell is already facing serious problems. In April, an analyst went on record saying that carriers in the U.S. and Europe "passed" on the company's smartphone because it was a "noncompelling product."

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