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Dell: Does it need a better answer to tablets?

Dell has a two device relay---based on an old version of Android and Windows 7---for its tablet strategy and that's just not enough to really compete.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Dell's second quarter conference call will revolve around IT spending, servers, storage and the health of the PC upgrade cycle. One topic that won't be mentioned---but should be---is topics. The big question: Does Dell have a credible tablet plan.

This Dell's tablet army

With Wall Street looking for second quarter earnings of 49 cents a share on revenue of $15.76 billion, tablets wouldn't even register as a rounding error in Dell's results. However, so-so PC sales dictate that Dell may want to outline some tablet strategy going forward. Is the tablet strategy to wait for Windows 8? Does Dell's Android tablet---the 7-inch Streak---sell at all? And in what verticals? If you recall the now defunct 5-inch Streak was pitched as a healthcare tool.

And what about Dell's Inspiron Duo? Is that quirky laptop/tablet hybrid doing anything?

Rest assured Dell won't be divulging much. Simply put, Dell's strategy revolves around a 7-inch Android 2.2 powered tablet when most rivals are on Android 3.0. The Inspiron Duo runs Windows 7.

It barely looks like Dell is trying.

With corporate PC sales solid and little dependence on the consumer, Dell is in decent shape for the next few quarters. But at some point, Dell may want to find an answer for this quirky thing known as tablets. Michael Dell may still have his doubts and sing the laptop song, but a little hedging can't hurt. After all, this tablet thing could be a big market as this post-PC world takes shape.

Related: Hardware health check on tap as Dell, HP, NetApp report earnings

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