* Expects 10-inch Windows tablet in mid-2011
* Unveiling redesigned line of business PCs
(Adds details from event, comments from executives)
By Gabriel Madway
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 8 Dell Inc DELL.O showed
off a tablet device for business users that runs Microsoft's
(MSFT.O) Windows software, as the personal computer company
continues to push aggressively into the mobile market.
Although many analysts believe the current version of
Windows is not a good fit for touchscreen tablets, Dell said
its commercial customers are looking for the familiarity and
security of the Microsoft environment in a more portable
The world's No. 2 maker of personal computers has already
launched tablets that run on Google's (GOOG.O) Android mobile
"Why are we working on all these flavors of products?
Because our customers are asking us to," said Steve Lalla,
general manager of Dell's business client group, during a media
event on Tuesday.
Dell provided a brief sneak peek of a 10-inch Windows
tablet as it introduced a redesigned line of commercial laptops
and desktop PCs. The company called it the largest ever refresh
of its business PC line, with 39 new products slated to hit the
market this year.
Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies called the launch one of
Dell's "strongest in years."
He said Dell Windows 7 tablet will by necessity be targeted
and optimized for certain business segments such as education
and healthcare. "You won't see a more widespread adoption of
Windows on tablets until Windows 8 comes along," Bajarin said.
Dell expects its Windows tablet to launch sometime in
Much of buzz in the computing world these days is focused
on tablets, although they are still are only a fraction of
tractional PC sales.
"Rumors of the death of the PC have been greatly
exaggerated," said Rick Echevarria, general manager of business
client platforms for Intel (INTC.O), which dominates the PC
chip market but has little presence in tablets.
Although PC sales continue to see modest growth, the tablet
and smartphone sectors are exploding. Dell's recent foray into
both markets is part of its overall drive to diversify its
business, which is heavily reliant on PC sales.
The tablet market is dominated by Apple's (AAPL.O) iPad,
with a whole host of Android-based models set to hit the market
this year. Dell rival Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N) is expected to
show off a new tablet based on Palm's webOS software at an
event Wednesday. [ID:nN07226942]
HP launched a business-focused Windows tablet last year,
but analysts say it has seen poor sales.
In an interview, Lalla compared Dell's Windows tablet --
which will run on Intel chips -- to a netbook without a
keyboard. It will enable customers to use their legacy Windows
(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)