Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

Summary: Dell, after its attempt to break into the tablet market and failing miserably, is to relaunch its consumer assault and launch a new tablet later this year.

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Dell is planning its comeback to the consumer tablet marked for late-2012, according to reports.

The Dell Streak was the company's enterprise-focused flagship tablet that never took off. The tablet entered a hostile, tough post-iPad hyped market, and other tablets were facing difficult times also.

The computing giant has suffered a number of losses last year, including a global decline in PC sales. Its hastiness in bringing out a tablet during what appeared to be fair-game for the company met with the Streak's demise last month, after the tablet was officially killed off.

But the company is planning a "bigger push" into the consumer arena, Dell's chief commercial officer Steve Felice said at CES.

Felice was not afraid to say how "very careful" the company is in approaching an already failed venture into the tablet market.

But Dell is learning from its mistakes and focusing on "ecosystem" rather than hardware or operating system alone. Felice acknowledged that the two combined and the "overall environment its operating is" is what people are interested in, but failed to disclose what Dell's tablet ecosystem could look like.

While the Dell Streak ran the Android mobile operating system, Felice said: "We like Windows 8 but we continue to develop with Android as well", giving no clues away. Either this means Dell is preparing a range of devices, or the company is still in early planning stages and has yet to put its plans to the table.

But given the failure of RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook and the first round of HP's TouchPad tablets, the clock is ticking away on the countdown to the PC vs. tablet showdown. Are consumers are hungry for tablets, or simply in it for the iPads?

Michael Dell, the company's chief executive, said on Monday in India that tablets were an "additional device". It appears that while Dell recognises that the tablet market is a lucrative one, even amid patent wars and sales injunctions, it should be secondary to the PC market that still holds more weight.

Having said that, a poll last week suggests nearly half of American voters believe tablets will eventually replace laptops.

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Topics: Laptops, Dell, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

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18 comments
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  • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

    All sounds a bit confused, but maybe that is because Dell is confused.
    antlev
    • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

      @antlev They're either confused, still working out the details, or trying to be vague so that their device is a pleasant surprise when it finally ships. Personally, I think it will be a Win 8 device. Look at the time frame they are releasing. I don't think it's a coincidence that it will appear when Win 8 appears.

      I see them releasing a Win 8 tablet, matching wireless keyboard/mouse, and special desktop docking station. Perhaps they will also release a presentation projector that connects automatically and wirelessly to the tablet. Their new focus on the ecosystem is what gives me the impression that it will be a full set of cooperative devices. My biggest fear for Dell's Win 8 tablet is that they will load the thing down with Dell-specific crapware, rendering it sluggish and buggy.
      BillDem
      • Will be Win8 probably

        @BillDem Likely Clover Trail, which implies quad-core Atom.
        symbolset
  • How Far Out?

    I think it sounds interesting, but if they don't even have a prototype yet, when are we going to see this? Michael, put a pen in it, too.
    WebSiteManager
  • Why can't a "tablet" just work?

    I don't want to have to chose between Android, Windows, and OSwhatever!
    :-(
    kd5auq
  • Apparently Dell did not learn

    What I get from consumers is that the iPad is Tablet sales and the rest have fire sales and stop selling them. Maybe Dell reads different news then I do?
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
    • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

      @jscott418
      Heard of the Kindle Fire? Because I'm seeing a lot of people who refuse to buy an iPad (for that price, they would get a laptop) but are buying the Fire.
      I'd personally love a tablet that could take over for my laptop, and an iPad is far from being able to do that.
      mdemuth
      • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

        @mdemuth I bought my Android tablet with the idea that it would replace my laptop. Having tried this for a few months, my input would be that if you are looking to replace a data entry device or a web browsing system, you can make it work, but a tablet is not a general purpose PC like a laptop.<br><br>I find that I can use the tablet to attend meetings and with a remote desktop app like Citrix I can run a real application on my PC if I need to run MS Project or Visio or something similar. While some would say that means I don't need the laptop, they are only correct in that I don't need a portable PC. I stilll need a computer along with the tablet. I haven't found that I can get all the applications I need from cloud vendors, but that will of course get better with time.<br><br>So my input would be that a tablet makes a great additioonal device, but doesn't replace a laptop. A low powered PC like a netbook is currently a better use of $250 than buying 1/2 a tablet.
        sbf95070
  • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

    The Streak was terrible as a platform and Dell hurt it even more by wrapping their crazy apps around the OS. It also sucks that you have to root their devices to remove their apps...
    No Thanks, Just Lurking
    • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

      @No Thanks, Just Lurking The Streak is not a terrible platform. The hardware was at the high end when introduced. The main problem with the Streak was the software. Dell dropped the ball by releasing it with Donut when most Android devices were being released with version 2.1 at the time. Once the Streak was updated with 2.2 Froyo six months later, it was too late even though it was an amazing transformation with 2.2. With 2.2 the hardware shined.

      The Streak was ahead of its time. Look at the Samsung Galaxy Note. Very similar form factor and it's been flying off the shelfs. Will probably be my next device since I doubt Dell will come out with a follow-up to the Streak 5.
      mrxxxman
  • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

    Once you give away our lead you never seem to regain it again. Gateway computers, Apple had 98% of computer market, Dell computers, Compaq computers. These were all number 1 at one time. I wish Dell well, but don't expect any earth shacking out of them.
    gil_seiler
  • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

    As someone who looked really hard at the Dell Flash before buying an Acer A500, I passed on the Flash because it was only available on ATT and I am a content Verizon user.

    One of the guys at work brought a 5 inch Flash in and lots of us liked it, but none of us were ATT cutomers.
    sbf95070
  • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

    The Dell Streak was a small tablet with a very low-res screen. I had one, and it was pretty awful. Dell and some other manufacturers don't seem to understand that hi-res is everything on a small tab, because people want to use them as e-readers. When Apple introduces its new hi-res tablets over the next few months, you will actually be able to read a book on a 10" tablet without straining your eyes from the fuzzy text. Maybe Dell will see the light. People just want an affordable tablet with a hi-res screen that works and can show smooth video. That's it!
    Photog7
    • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

      @photog7 I doubt you ever owned a Dell Streak 5. You realize the Streak 5 was released over a year and a half ago and first demoed in late 2009. The Streak's resolution of 800x480 was at the higher end back then. It's a very sharp and bright screen when you compare it to similar devices.

      The main problem with the Streak was the Android 1.6 software it was released with. Had it been released with 2.1 or 2.2 it would have been received with rave reviews. Just look at the Galaxy Note now.
      mrxxxman
  • What I would personally like to see ...

    ... are tablets that come with stands beneath them that flip out, and allow you to tilt the tablets upwards - like what you see on some keyboards. I would like them to use Windows 8, and I would like Windows 8 to incorporate the 'LiquidKeyboard' concept described at the following web site:

    h.t.t.p.:././.w.w.w.liquidkeyboard.org./.

    The 'LiquidKeyboard' concept allows you to place your hands virtually any place on a touch screen, and have keyboard elements appear appropriately under your fingers. The user can then use muscle memory to touch type onscreen (without looking). It is a gamble as to whether this will take off. However it doesn't seem as if adjusting to the keyboard is that difficult, and most people should be able to start using it after a few minutes of practice. If we are able to ditch the physical keyboard, things would become fantastic, as we would be able to do lots of innovation around this technology - something we are not able to do well today with physical keyboards.

    I think Windows 8 tablets and large touch screens which will allow users to do both consumptive and productive work, will be a boon. I believe many Windows 8 systems should include physical keyboards to support legacy apps, and to support users who are skeptical about soft keyboards. I believe Windows 8 PCs have the potential to sideline the iPad, because they can be sold as primary computing devices - with user experiences that go beyond the iPad's. I think therefore that Dell would be wise to bet on Windows 8.
    P. Douglas
  • "half of voters believe tablest will replace laptops"

    These might be the same ones who think wristwatches and point-and-shoot digital cameras are going away. Both are still going strong.
    pete_w_flynn@...
  • Dell who?

    Dell made their money by building a commodity product "after" they got the sale, when people were still willing to wait for their PC to be shipped to them. How quaint. Ever since then they've made me-too Palm, Windows CE and now Android products, yawn.
    flightning
  • RE: Dell 'learns past mistakes', plans to re-enter tablet market

    Sorry, I've been burnt by Dell one too many times. Shoddy manufacturing. Horrible customer service. Dude, I'm NOT getting ANY Dell ever again.
    bethere@...