Dell is getting in on the Windows 8 action, unveiling new tablets and PCs optimized for Microsoft's new operating system. But can Dell compete in the tablet market with so many other entrenched players? Or is the company better off sticking with PCs in a head-on competition with Hewlett-Packard?
The market will soon bear that out. Dell just announced the XPS 10 tablet, Latitude 10 tablet, Latitude 6430u Notebook, OptiPlex 9010 all-in-one with touch and the Inspiron 15z. That's on top of the XPS 12 convertible, XPS One 27 all-in-one with touch and Inspiron One 23 all-in-one with touch that were announced last week.
"This is the mainstream lineup, refreshed for Windows 8. Essentially, Win 8 can run on anything Win 7 can run on. So, there's not much change to the hardware," Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, told us. "The specialty products, the XPS 12 convertible laptop and XPS One 27 all-in-one were announced separately. This is the rest of them coming along. The whole consumer lineup will go over to Win 8 pretty rapidly after launch."
A $499 Windows 8 Tablet
Designed for mobile professionals, the XPS 10 promises a tablet experience that boosts work productivity. In fact, Dell says it offers laptop-like productivity in a tablet form factor so users can transition from work projects to personal pursuits. The tablet is priced competitively at $499.
The XPS 10 has an HD multi-touch display with split screen capability for multitasking, and an optional mobile keyboard dock features a full-sized keyboard, touchpad, ports, stereo speakers and an extra battery. Microsoft Windows RT and dual-core ARM architecture power the tablet.
The Latitude 10 is a 10-inch tablet with multimedia features, accessory compatibility, and full compatibility with current Windows applications. The Latitude 10 plugs into existing management consoles, features a swappable battery and optional security features such as Dell Data Protection-Encryption for encryption from the hard drive to USB port.
Healthcare and government users may opt for a Latitude 10 equipped with a fingerprint and smart card reader for two-factor authentication that will come to market in early 2013. The Latitude 10 also offers up to 18 hours of battery life and an optional productivity dock and active stylus.
Business Ultrabook Delivered
The Latitude 6430u is Dell's first business Ultrabook. It offers a wireless docking based on WiGig technology, which allows devices to communicate wirelessly at multi-gigabit speeds for data, video and audio. Meanwhile, the Inspiron 15z Ultrabook has an optional touchscreen interface and is less than 1 inch thick. The Latitude 6430u runs $899 and the Inspiron 15z runs $749.
"Dell continues to address the requirements of consumers who desire innovative blends of style and performance, and IT, which needs to support flexible, yet controlled, computing environments," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. "The new Windows 8-based XPS, Latitude and OptiPlex lineups should certainly appeal to consumers and IT alike. Dell's solutions are designed to support the core security and manageability processes which concern business IT and are key to fulfilling the promise of BYOD."