Dell plans on releasing a 7-inch tablet PC, powered by Google Android, as a follow-up to the recently released Streak. CEO Michael Dell offered a sneak peek of the new device during a Sept. 22 presentation at Oracle OpenWorld, but remained tight-lipped about specs or a possible release date.
"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.
Dell's other tablet PC, the 5-inch Streak, was evidently just the beginning of the company's push into the burgeoning consumer tablet market: In a Sept. 14 presentation at the Intel Developer Forum, company executive David Zavelson showed off 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 the device.
The Dell Streak sells for $299 with a two-year AT&T contract, and $549.99 unlocked. Michael Dell reportedly used the terms "interesting, exciting but immaterial to Dell's $60 billion in revenue" when asked about the Streak's sales performance in the U.K., where it first made its debut.
Dell's tablets are just one facet of the company's push into mobile devices and smartphones, as well as the backend infrastructure that supports them: during a summer conference for financial analysts, Michael Dell suggested that the burgeoning mobile market represented 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 said at the time.
Apple's enormous sales success with the iPad has led other manufacturers to pursue their own tablets. Samsung is preparing to launch the 7-inch Galaxy Tab on four different carriers by the end of 2010, and Hewlett-Packard is reportedly building tablets that run its recently acquired Palm webOS and Windows 7. Recent reports also suggest that Research In Motion is prepping a BlackBerry tablet PC-allegedly named the BlackPad-with functionality geared toward business users.
The iPad's success has also led analysts to question whether tablets will begin to cannibalize market share from netbooks and low-cost notebooks. While some pundits have suggested a correlation between rising iPad sales and a decline in netbook shipments, others-including NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker-believe other factors carry more weight.