mobile OSMobilityWorkspace

Dell Plots Tablet Resurrection In Late 2012

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

A Dell official has confirmed plans to re-enter the tablet market with a big consumer push this year

Just one month after Dell discontinued its final tablet offering, the PC maker has revealed its intention to resurrect its tablet chances with new consumer facing devices.

Dell’s chief commercial officer Steve Felice told Reuters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it intends to launch its first consumer tablet in late 2012.

Second Time Lucky?

But this is not the first time Dell has attempt to crack the tablet market. Dell had previously attempted to lure tablet customers away from the Apple iPad with its Android-based Streak tablets.

It began its tablet push with the five-inch Streak tablet, which arrived in the UK in June 2010. It then followed this up with the 7 inch Dell Streak 7, which was launched in the UK in April 2011.

But the devices received a lukewarm reaction from the market, mainly due to their form factors. Reviewers found the 5 inch version a bit awkward, as it was overly big for a smartphone  but a touch small for a tablet. Dell had been hoping the device would appeal to an audience in the market for both types of device.

The Streak 7, on the other hand, came down heavily on the side of full-sized tablets, but was still smaller than many of its rival tablets. The company also released a 10 inch tablet, dubbed the Dell Streak Pro, into the Chinese market in December.

Sales of the device came nowhere near the levels of Apple’s all conquering iPad, and Dell quietly discontinued its Streak 7 tablet in December 2011, a few months after killing off the smaller Streak 5.

Ecosystem Value

But now Dell is planning a fightback after Felice said that the PC maker had learned from the hastiness of some of its rivals and it now better understands how consumers value the “ecosystem” of a tablet as much as the hardware.

“We have been taking our time,” Felice was quoted as saying. “The general failure of everyone that’s tried to introduce a tablet outside of Apple” suggested Dell made a prudent choice, Felice reportedly said. “You will see us enter this market in a bigger way toward the end of the year. So we are not really de-emphasising it, we are really being very careful how we enter it.”

“When you are talking about PC, people are more focused on the hardware itself. When you are talking about the tablet or the smartphone, people are interested in the overall environment its operating in,” he added. “As we have matured in this, we are spending a lot more time in the overall ecosystem.”

Felice remained tight lipped over the operating system that it would utilise, but Microsoft’s Windows 8 has been designed to work on both tablets and normal computers. The alternative of course is Android, but Felice said that he liked the feel of Microsoft’s touch-enabled operating system.

“There hasn’t been a lot of advancement and it’s given Microsoft a good window to come into the market with Windows 8. I like the touch Windows 8 feature,” he said. “We like Windows 8 but we continue to develop with Android as well. We are still going to be more choice-driven, based on the feedback we get from customers.”