Dell CEO Michael Dell shared, during the company's Feb. 15 earnings call, that the company planned to enter the 10-inch tablet space later this year, with a device running Android 3.0, known as "Honeycomb." But according to a leaked document said to be Dell's product roadmap, Michael Dell was severely understating the company's plans.
According to the roadmaps, which were posted Feb. 16 by tech sites wpcentral and Android Central and purport to outline Dell's device plans through 2011 and into the first quarter of 2012, Dell is planning to launch three smartphones and - count 'em - six new tablets.
Let's eat dessert first: The first new tablet, planned for April, is called the "Gallo" and will run Honeycomb. Following it in in late May or early June will be the "Rosemount," running Microsoft's Windows 7 and featuring an HD display with a resolution of 1366 by 768. In October will come the Honeycomb-running "Sterling," and it seems - in time for the kickoff to holiday shopping - an update to the Gallo with handwriting recognition and "MLK."
In Dell speak, writes wpcentral, MLK stands for Medialess License Kit. "Normally that would apply to, say, Microsoft office, but we have a hunch that in this case it applies to a software update," states the site, pointing to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's presentation at Mobile World Congress this week. Ballmer announced that during the second half of the year, updates will be made to Windows Phone 7, including multitasking, the integration of Twitter with the OS's "People" hub and Office document sharing and storage via Windows Live Skydrive.
On the roadmap for July is another MLK device, the "Streak 7 MLK: Android," which we take to mean, then, a version with an updated version of Android.
Kicking off 2012 wil be two more Honeycomb tablets, the "Opus One" and the "SilverOak," along with a Windows 8 tablet, the "Peju."
Regarding Dell's smartphone plans, the roadmap offers a few more details. Toward mid-April - with Android and Windows Phone 7 versions of the Dell Venue Pro already shipping - the roadmap shows a "Venue Pro MLK (Windows Phone 7)" with "additional features and enhancements."
That's followed in July by the "Wrigley," a "Windows Phone 7 Next Gen" phone with a 1GHz processor, a 4-inch WVGA display, an 8-megapixel camera and 720p HD video recording. A rectangular device, it features a slide-out QWERTY keypad along its short end (or width).
The "Hancock," by contrast - arriving in early August, late September - is a rectangular phone with its slide-out QWERTY keypad running along its long end, or length. It'll run a version of Android called "Ice Cream," which it's further rumored that Google will introduce at its developer conference in San Francisco this May. The Hancock boasts a dual-core processor, a 4-inch qHD (quarter high-definition) display, an 8-megapixel camera on the back, a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front and 1080p HD video recording.
Finally, a bit into October will come the Millennium, another Android Ice Cream-running phone with a dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch qHD display, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a VGA front-facing camera, 1080p video recording and DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) capabilities, meaning it can stream to other DLNA-capable devices, such as an HDTV.
During Dell's most recent earnings report, it was the enterprise-focused side of the house that did the major earning, helping Dell to enjoy, during its fiscal year 2011, the largest single-year revenue increase in the company's history. Its consumer phone and tablet efforts, however, have been less successful - its first smartphone designs were originally turned down by U.S. carriers and so launched instead in China and Brazil, and its first Streak tablet, unusually sized at 5 inches, met a lukewarm reception. This newest round of devices, however, may change things for the Texas computer maker.
"Customers are now seeing Dell in a fresh light," Michael Dell said during the earnings call. "We're heading into the new year with strength and optimism."