Dell's Windows 8 Tablets Will Target iPad

Dell's Windows 8 tablets will apparently leverage the company’s experience in security and interoperability to challenge the iPad, according to an executive.

Dell wants to pull an Apple in the tablet market.

€œWe have a road map for tablets that we haven€™t announced yet,€ Dell chief commercial officer Steve Felice told Reuters March 16. €œWe don€™t think that this market is closed off in any way.€ Those announcements will apparently come in the second half of 2012, suggesting a holiday release for whatever Dell has tucked up its collective sleeve.

Dell will concentrate its tablet efforts on Windows 8, Microsoft€™s upcoming operating system also due later in the year. Although Apple€™s iPad has made steady inroads into the enterprise, Dell apparently believes that its experience in areas such as security and interoperability will allow it to claim the allegiances of a significant number of businesses.

€œWhen people put their computer to the side and take their iPad with them to travel, you see a lot of compromises being made,€ Felice added. For months, Microsoft has also been advocating Windows 8 as a €œno compromises€ operating system, one that will marry a lightweight touch-centric interface with the features and powers of a traditional OS.

At the moment, Dell€™s efforts are focused in the PC realm, with the company joining others in the Intel-backed push behind Ultrabooks. Those super-slim laptops, which boast stronger specs than netbooks, are viewed by many in the industry as one way for non-tablet companies to gain a piece of the mobility market.

That being said, Dell has made a run at the tablet market before. The company originally loaded Android onto a line of Streak tablets, which failed to excite the marketplace in the same way as the iPad. The original 5-inch Streak suffered something of an identity crisis, with many reviewers asking whether it was a large smartphone or a small tablet. Dell then issued the 7-inch Streak, only to stop selling it (along with the 5-inch edition) by December 2011.

For Dell, the rise of tablets has presented a particular conundrum. For several quarters, analysts have debated over whether the popularity of mobile touch-screens correlates directly with slowing PC sales worldwide. Whatever the actual answer, it€™s unequivocal that PCs are experiencing a soft patch, sales-wise, which in turn could affect PC manufacturers like Dell in negative ways.

Hence the company€™s continued focus on tablets, despite the demise of the Streak project. And whatever its final road map, chances are good that, unlike its Android efforts, Dell€™s Windows tablet foray will focus heavily on the enterprise. €œHaving a secure Windows tablet that works with all the Windows applications€”we€™re hearing a lot of demand for that, and we think that will be quite attractive,€ Michael Dell, CEO of his eponymous company, told the Bloomberg West television show earlier in March.

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