Dell smartphone plans confirmed, says AT&T CEO

Dell is confirmed to be entering the smartphone market, after AT&T's CEO revealed the fact at a panel at Mobile World Congress this morning.  AT&T CEO Ralph De La Vega told delegates and press that "Dell announced they're entering the smart phone market" during a panel with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Unfortunately we have no more details than that quote, and no official word from Dell themselves on the company's smartphone plans.  The confirmation comes a day after Microsoft officially announced Windows Mobile 6.5, and the shift of smartphone direction to considering the devices as "Windows Phones", extensions of the desktop PC environment.  We're unclear on whether Dell will be using Windows Mobile 6.5 or another OS.

Rumors regarding Dell's re-entrance to the smartphone market have circulated regularly over the past few months, with the company always denying they have any immediate intention.  Most recently, a mobile industry analyst predicted that a Dell smartphone was "closer to reality" than many expected, suggesting that any such handset has been moving down the development pathway for some time.