The Dell-to-launch-a-smartphone rumour has been a persistent one, with analysts already predicting a February debut, but it's got a new lease of life this week following a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The paper says that the PC maker is plotting a launch for next month, although curiously also states that the plans are not finalised and may be abandoned, without elaborating as to why.

With prototypes said to have been floating around Dell headquarters for a year, the rumoured smartphones are said to be both Windows Mobile and Android offerings.

One model is said to feature a touchscreen, "not unlike the iPhone's", sources "familiar with the matter" are said to report.

If true, next month will be a busy one for the phone market with the Mobile World Congress event heralding the launch of Acer's now-confirmed smartphone offering, as well as launches from other major manufacturers.