Dell wants to pull an Apple in the tablet market.
We have a road map for tablets that we havent announced yet, Dell chief commercial officer Steve Felice told Reuters March 16. We dont 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, Microsofts upcoming operating system also due later in the year. Although Apples 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.
When 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 no compromises operating system, one that will marry a lightweight touch-centric interface with the features and powers of a traditional OS.
At the moment, Dells 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, its unequivocal that PCs are experiencing a soft patch, sales-wise, which in turn could affect PC manufacturers like Dell in negative ways.
Hence the companys 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, Dells Windows tablet foray will focus heavily on the enterprise. Having a secure Windows tablet that works with all the Windows applicationswere 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.