Dell: Data, not device, is converging

Michael Dell says varying mobile form factors in market will continue to serve different consumer requirements and flashes company's upcoming mini-tablet Streak.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

SAN FRANCISCO--Computing devices of different form factors ranging from thin- and rich-clients to tablets, slates and other mobile devices will continue to co-exist and serve different user needs, according to Dell Computer's founder and CEO Michael Dell.

Speaking at the Citrix Synergy conference here Thursday, Dell said devices will not necessarily be replaced by another and consumers will continue to seek out different models for different uses. Some form factors will be good for creating content, while others will be good for consuming content, he added.

Dismissing suggestions that as a PC maker Dell will not want computing devices to go "thin", he said the company embraces such devices as they offer users added flexibility in computing.

"What's converging is the data, not the device," he noted. "The device we use to access our information shouldn't matter anymore. Whether it's a phone or notebook, a netbook or desktop PC, your client image can follow you everywhere."

Key to this is virtualization technologies, Dell said, adding that companies need to leverage such platforms in order to support their employees' desire for computing flexibility and deliver services to users regardless of where they are.

He reaffirmed Dell's close alliance with Citrix to support and drive virtualization deployments, which since yesterday include support for XenClient on Intel vPro-based Dell systems.

On stage, Dell also whipped out from his pocket "a new little device" dubbed the Dell Streak, or then referred to as the Mini 5. The 5-inch touchscreen handheld runs on Google Android, though the company is also working on 7- and 10-inch versions of the Streak.

During a quick show-and-tell, Dell said Streak is another example of a device, downloaded with Citrix Receiver, which consumers can use to deploy virtual machines and run data and apps off the Web.

He added that Streak will be available next month in Europe via mobile operator partner O2, before making its way to the U.S. in the third quarter via AT&T. He did not provide further details on shipping dates of other regions, or how much the device will cost.

Dell noted that 4G will prove critical to provide the network capacity needed to support the increasing array of apps and content, including videoconferencing, that users now deploy on their mobile devices.

Eileen Yu of ZDNet Asia reported from Citrix Synergy 2010 in San Francisco.

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