Dell announced a new 7-inch 4G tablet and a prototype of a business-focused 10-inch device at CES 2011 on Thursday.
Michael Tatelman, vice president and general manger of North American consumer sales for Dell, stressed the screen's robustness. "It uses Gorilla Glass, which will take the rough treatment that these devices will get," he said at the press conference at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas.
Michael Tatelman holds up the Dell Streak 7 tablet at CES 2011 in Las Vegas. Photo credit: Simon Bisson
Intended for social networking — and targeted at what Tatelman describes as "the Gen Y and student market" — the Streak 7 will ship with Android 2.2, with an upgrade to Android 3.0 planned shortly after launch. Software can be loaded from the Android Market.
The tablet will ship with Flash 10.1, while the device itself uses Dell's own cross-platform consumer UI, Stage. Tatelman noted that "[the Streak 7] weighs less than a pound, a lot lighter than the 10-inch devices from our competitors".
Jeremy Korst, T-Mobile US's vice president for mobile broadband, was enthusiastic about the Streak 7, saying "tablets are a category revolutioniser". He also suggested that they were "smarter than a smartphone, more portable than a PC". Focused on a consumer audience, the Streak 7 will ship in the US with preloaded software including T-Mobile's TV service, Amazon's Kindle and video chat from Qik.
The Streak 7 is being sold as a 4G device in the US, for use on T-Mobile's LTE network, but a 3G option will be available. It is unclear when it will be available outside the US, although Dell did note that it was planning a global release. Pricing has also yet to be announced, although Korst indicated that it would be "at a very friendly consumer price".
Dell also previewed a prototype 10-inch tablet device. Targeted at business users, this tablet will offer productivity tools and support for management frameworks and policy management. Steve Felice, president of Dell's Consumer, Small and Medium Business unit talked about how Dell sees tablets in business environments.
"The key thing is we're focused on the whole ecosystem," he said. "You hear a lot about the iPad in commercial environments, but if you talk to the CIO or the person responsible for technology in a small business, their view is that it's a pretty big challenge because they have an environment that has all the other OSes. We want to make sure that the front end links up with the back end."
Felice suggested that support for management frameworks was important, as it would allow tablets to be compliant with business regulations. "If you're a doctor in a hospital and you want to use a tablet to track patient information, the CIO needs that device to be manageable," he said.
Dell also used its press conference to announce a new mobility section of its online store, which will be used to sell tablet devices along with its new Venue Android mobile phone. Sold contract free and unlocked, the Venue is an Android 2.2 device with a 4.1-inch screen and an 8-megapixel camera. Dell will ship its phone with a mix of business and consumer applications, including Quickoffice.
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