Dell unveiled a new laptop, tablet and desktop PC running Windows 8 for business users as the company prepares for the Oct. 26 launch of Microsoft's newest computer operating system.
Pricing for the new machines, announced Sept. 19, has not yet been announced, but will likely be unveiled at the time of the Windows 8 debut, when the new machines will become available for purchase.
"With these new offerings, we aimed to design innovative products that inject consumer appeal to systems for business users," Brent McAnally, director of product marketing, planning and strategy for Dell's Business Client Product Group, wrote in a post on the Direct2Dell Blog. "All these products are rooted in things that matter to companies: security, manageability and durability."
- An enterprise-class Dell Ultrabook, the Latitude 6430u, with a 14-inch screen and a 33 percent slimmer profile than previous versions. The 6430u is also 16 percent lighter than the current model and is designed to meet MIL-STD-810G durability testing, which is a U.S. military test standard where systems are subjected to the harshest conditions, according to Dell.
- The new Latitude 10 tablet computer, which is a 10-inch model that allows the use of the latest touch-enabled applications for mobile enterprise workers. The Latitude 10 supports existing Microsoft productivity applications and is compatible with existing IT management consoles, according to Dell. The Latitude 10 includes swappable battery capabilities and robust security options for encrypting all data from the hard drive to the USB port.
- The new OptiPlex 9010, a 23-inch all-in-one computer that preserves desk space while offering touch interfaces for business users. Available options include a multipoint touchscreen, a fixed or rotating camera and an articulating stand to better position the screen for users.
The announcement of the upcoming new Windows 8 Dell machines comes some five weeks before Microsoft's Windows 8 launch gala, but about six weeks after competitor Lenovo announced its first Windows 8 tablet PC.
Lenovo introduced its ThinkPad Tablet 2 Aug. 8 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its ThinkPad line of business machines. The Tablet 2 is a 10.1-inch tablet that is Lenovo's answer to the upcoming Microsoft Surface tablet, as well as to the Apple iPad. The Tablet 2 will ship in October after Windows 8 becomes available.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst of The Enderle Group, said early announcements for new products based on new computer operating systems is unusual before the debut of the actual operating systems.
For hardware manufacturers, though, these announcements are just the start. "We're looking at a major hardware refresh of all their products," said Enderle. "These announcements are coming now so they don't get lost in the rush."
And what a rush it is expected to be as Microsoft plans to spend an estimated $1.6 billion worldwide on the launch and ongoing advertising for the reworked Windows 8 operating system, he said.
"I think a lot of these [hardware vendors] are a little worried that their individual launch budgets for their own Windows 8-enabled products will be overwhelmed," said Enderle. "We have not seen a marketing event like this ever."
To cope with that approaching avalanche, "hardware vendors are trying to get their announcements out so they don't get lost," he said. "This is going to be one for the record books in terms of overall spending."