Oh, Dell, what are we going to do with you? For months and months and months (and months) we're teased by rumors that you might be getting back into the smartphone business. And time and time again, we see nothing.

Now comes word from Barrons [via Giz] that Dell's been shot down by the carriers for producing a couple of prototypes that were too "Dell-like."

(Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw) Wu says that he understands that Dell built prototypes using both Windows Mobile and Android, but that the carriers knocked the offerings for “lack of differentiation” versus current and coming products from HTC, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Motorola and others. He adds that the unveiling of the Palm Pre didn’t help, “generating interest from carriers as a viable competitor.”

Wu says that Dell's going back to the drawing board and could well be making acquitisions to try to get the job done.

Hey, it's touch to top what HTC's doing these days. And there's certainly tons of excitement surrounding the Pre. But shouldn't Dell have a little more to show by now?