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Report: Dell To Launch 10-Inch Android Tablet This Summer, Windows 7 Tablet In Fall

The company is relying on a multi-platform tablet strategy to challenge Apple's iPad in the mobile device market.

Dell is on course to release its 10-inch Android tablet this summer, possibly as early as June, Forbes reported Tuesday, quoting an unnamed company source. The report did not clarify whether the tablet would be in the Streak product family or another Dell brand.

Dell showed off a prototype of the device at CES in January and said it was due in 2012.

On Monday, Forbes reported that Dell has delayed its 10-inch Windows tablet launch until the fall, again quoting an unnamed company source. But while rumors of a Windows 7-based tablet began appearing in the fall of 2010, the actual release will reportedly take place only approximately a year later. Nor will a fall release be in time for the back-to-school sales season, according to the report.

According to the report, Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system due next year will offer a more optimal experience for tablet users than Windows 7 currently offers on HP and Asus’ tablets -- but Dell doesn’t plan to wait for Windows’ next refresh cycle.

Dell declined CRN’s request for comment on either tablet’s release schedules. According to a slide that appears to show Dell’s product roadmap that leaked in February, however, Dell is developing four upcoming Android tablets, all of which belong to product families that have not been publically unveiled yet. Based on Google’s Android 2.3 OS code-named Honeycomb, which is optimized for tablets, the Dell Gallo is set to hit the market in April, with a refreshed version to follow in Q4.

According to the leaked roadmap, the Dell Gallo will be followed by another Honeycomb-based tablet, the Dell Sterling in Q4, two more Android tablets in Q1 2012, code-named Dell Opus One and the Dell Silver Oak, followed by a pair of Windows-based tablets Dell tablets code-named Rosemont and Peju.

Other manufacturers that showed off Android tablets at CES 2011 have begun offering their devices. An unnamed Toshiba tablet PC running Google ’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform has appeared on Amazon, along with a product description. Asus Chairman Jonney Shish says Asus’ new Eee Pad Transformer device that launched in March will is the company’s "secret weapon" to challenge Apple’s iPad 2, which also came to market last month.

Next: Dell’s Enterprise Strategy

Last month, Andy Lark, Dell’s global head of marketing for large enterprises and public organizations, made a similar bold statement directed at Apple saying Apple’s iPad will fail in the enterprise space against Dell tablets.

Lark said Apple’s tablets run on a closed platform and, despite the reduced price of the iPad 2, remains too expensive for many customers. While Apple’s first-generation iPad claimed 87 percent of the tablet market last year, according to Gartner, another company coming off of strong results in the traditional PC space, Lenovo, has entered the market. Lenovo says its LePad tablet is coming to the international market soon after its release in China in March.

Dell unveiled dozens of products in its enterprise PC portfolio that month, all of which are due for release this year, and briefly revealed a 10-inch Windows 7-based tablet scheduled to launch later this year. Dell said the product is designed both for end-users and IT organizations looking to integrate their existing infrastructure into a manageable, secure IT ecosystem.

Dell Greater China President Amit Midha in September said Dell will run Windows as well as Google Chrome OS on its forthcoming tablets, but so far neither platform has come to market inside Dell systems. Midha’s comments came several months after Dell unveiled its 5-inch Streak smartphone running on an Android OS, whereas Google’s Chrome operating system has not been successful in the mobile computing market so far.

As Dell continues to explore different operating system and design options, the number of prospective competitors is growing, and the window of opportunity in the burgeoning tablet market may be closing.

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