Dell showed off a prototype of a 7-inch tablet PC running Google Android at Oracle OpenWorld. It will be the company's second tablet PC after the 5-inch Streak.
Dell plans on releasing a 7-inch tablet PC, powered by
Google Android, as a follow-up to the recently released Streak. CEO Michael Dell
offered a sneak peek of the new device during a Sept. 22 presentation at Oracle
OpenWorld, but remained tight-lipped about specs or a possible release
"Michael made the point that devices are changing and
evolving rapidly to keep up with the way users want to get their data-anytime,
anywhere," read a Sept. 22 posting on Dell's corporate blog, Direct2Dell.
Dell's other tablet PC, the 5-inch Streak, was evidently
just the beginning of the company's push into the burgeoning consumer tablet
market: In a Sept. 14 presentation at the Intel Developer Forum, company
executive David Zavelson showed
off the 10-inch Inspiron Duo, which can be used as either a tablet or a
netbook. Dell plans on using a dual-core Atom chip for the device.
The Dell Streak sells for $299 with a two-year AT&T
contract, and $549.99 unlocked. Michael Dell reportedly used the terms
"interesting, exciting but immaterial to Dell's $60 billion in revenue" when
asked about the Streak's sales performance in the U.K., where it first
made its debut
Dell's tablets are just one facet of the company's push into
mobile devices and smartphones, as well as the backend infrastructure that
supports them: during a summer conference for financial analysts, Michael
Dell suggested that the burgeoning mobile market represented a chance to
increase sales of servers and other hardware
"There has to be servers and storage to support all the data
that is being pulled by users and this is an exciting opportunity for us," he
said at the time.
Apple's enormous sales success with the iPad has led other
manufacturers to pursue their own tablets. Samsung is preparing to launch the
7-inch Galaxy Tab on four different carriers by the end of 2010, and
Hewlett-Packard is reportedly building tablets that run its recently acquired
Palm webOS and Windows 7. Recent
reports also suggest that Research In Motion is prepping a BlackBerry tablet PC
named the BlackPad-with functionality geared toward business users.
The iPad's success has also led analysts to question whether
tablets will begin to cannibalize market share from netbooks and low-cost
notebooks. While some pundits have suggested a correlation between rising iPad
sales and a decline in netbook shipments, others-including
NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker
-believe other factors carry more weight.