Dell plans on launching its 7-inch tablet within the "next few weeks," according to a company executive quoted Sept. 29 in The Wall Street Journal. That executive, Dell Greater China President Amit Midha, also suggested that a Dell 10-inch tablet would make an appearance within the next six months to a year.
"It was showed off at Oracle [OpenWorld] by [CEO] Michael [Dell] last week, and we'll be launching very, very soon-within the next few weeks," Midha is quoted as saying.
A Dell 7-inch tablet would follow its 5-inch Streak, which launched in the United States Aug. 13. That 5-incher runs Google's Android 1.6 operating system, features front- and rear-facing cameras, and is priced at either $549.99 unlocked or $299 with a two-year AT&T contract.
Michael Dell revealed the Dell Streak 7-inch during a Sept. 22 presentation at Oracle OpenWorld, but remained close-lipped about specs or a possible release date. In addition to the growing tablet family, Dell's forays into mobility include 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 that device.
"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, referencing that OracleWorld appearance.
Dell also plans to profit from the back-end infrastructure that supports those mobile devices. During a summer conference for financial analysts, Michael Dell suggested that the burgeoning mobile market represents 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 told analysts at the event.
The Dell Streak and its successors face competition not only from the Apple iPad, which rekindled interest in the consumer tablet segment earlier this year, but also upcoming products such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Research In Motion's PlayBook, a BlackBerry-themed tablet unveiled on Sept. 27. Both the PlayBook and Galaxy Tab feature 7-inch screens.
Rumors have also circulated that Apple is preparing a 7-inch iPad of its own. That scuttlebutt extends back to August, when Digitimes Research predicted a 7-inch iPad due in the first quarter of 2011 and armed with an ARM Cortex A9-based processor.