Dell Unveils Tablet PC, A First In Two Ways

Dell, Round Rock, Texas, priced the Latitude XT at $2,499 -- pricier than tablets launched recently by competitors Fujitsu and Toshiba. (Click here for a slide show comparison of Dell, Fujitsu and Toshiba tablets.) But a Dell executive said the company believes the Latitude XT offers value with "capacitive touch" technology integrated into its display, which also provides outdoor-quality brightness.

"We see a lot of value in working with our channel partners here," said Glenn Keels, director, commercial product marketing for Dell. "You'll see us focusing, more and more, on where the mobile workforce is." The product will compliment vertical market solutions provided by resellers and integrators, Keels said. "We've been listening to customers as we always do, in markets where these tablets and applications are predominant, such as field service workers, education, where the existing stable of offerings doesn't work."

Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell piqued the interest of many earlier this year, during his appearance at the Oracle OpenWorld conference, when he stated the company had been examining multi-touch technologies and planned to roll out products with multi-touch capabilities. "Capacitive touch" isn't true multi-touch technology, but is a step closer to that and is similar to technology Apple uses in its iPhone.

Dell will sell the product both directly and through its channel partners, Keels said. The company kicked off its Dell PartnerDirect channel organization and program last week, and is seeking to double its lineup of 15,000 channel partners over the next few years.

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Dell, though, is entering a tablet space that already includes channel veterans such as Fujitsu and Toshiba. Earlier this year, Fujitsu launched the Lifebook T2010 tablet and, earlier this week, Toshiba launched its Portege M700 tablet and both follow previous generations of tablet products offered by those companies.