Dell launches new Android, Windows-powered Venue tablets, XPS ultrabooks

The computing giant fights to compete in the dwindling PC market by dishing out a range of new Android and Windows-powered tablets and notebooks.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: Shara Tibken/CNET

NEW YORK — Dell announced on Wednesday new additions to its notebook and tablet offering, as the company continues to fight against the declining PC market. 

The star of the show was Dell's newest XPS 15, with a quad-core processor. It also comes with a quad HD+ display — a resolution of 3,200 x 1,800 — which has five times more pixels than a high-definition display, according to Dell executives. It's 18 millimeters in thickness and under 4.5 pounds.

Sam Burd, Dell's vice president of personal computer group, said at the event: "The most powerful XPS laptop we have ever shipped."

Burd also noted the "strong" partnership the company has seen with Intel, which powers all of Dell's latest devices. With that, Dell confirmed it will not refresh its current range of Windows RT products, which run rival ARM-based chips. 

"We're expanding our tablet range on the full Windows product," Hand confirmed.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company also announced XPS 11, 12, and 13 ultrabooks. 

The 13-inch XPS 13 ultrabook includes a high definition touch display, and lands with a Intel Core (fourth-generation) processor. The XPS 11 and XPS 12 are "two-in-one" devices, in 11-inch and 12-inch versions respectively, and converge the traditional laptop and the tablet space with snap-in keyboards.

The two new ultrabooks also come with dual USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port on the side, and a full-sized SD card slot. 

Dell's new Venue 7 and Venue 8 are 7-inch and 8-inch tablets, respectively, designed to target the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) market. The Venue 7 runs Android Jelly Bean, comes with and comes with 2GB processing power, a high-definition display and 4G LTE connectivity; while the Venue 8 lands with Windows 8.1 and full-stylus capability. 

"We want to make it really affordable. It's not just about value, but also longevity that comes from the device," according to Neil Hand, Dell's vice president of tablet and performance PC group, who spoke at the event.

Dell's own Pocket Cloud is bundled in with the new products. It allows users to access data in the cloud, and versions that allow applications to be run on the fly, such as Photoshop on an Android tablet, Dell executives said.

Meanwhile, the Windows-powered Venue Pro 11 comes in a similar frame to Microsoft's own branded tablet, and includes a snap-in keyboard dock to transform the device into a laptop factor. The device lands with a Intel Bay Trail processor, and a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display.

With a 10-inch display, it also has a detachable battery allowing enterprise users to snap in a new power source at will. The part-tablet, part-laptop boasts up to 17 hours of battery life, according to executives.

There's another version of the tablet for businesses, as well as government agencies or financial and healthcare industries. But Dell says the features are just as applicable to the ordinary business user.

The smaller 8-inch Venue 8 Pro tablet comes with Windows 8.1, 2GB of RAM, a full-size SD card slot for additional storage, and micro-USB charging. It's one-third of an inch thick, and weighs less than one pound.

Correction at 5:40 p.m. ET: with adjusted Venue Pro 11 display resolution.

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