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Dell to Launch New Windows 8 Tablets in Late 2013

Steve Lalla, vice president and general manager of mobile products and solutions at Dell, said in an interview that the company is planning to launch new Windows 8 tablets later this year. He said there is a potential that some of these devices will sport screens larger than 10 inches, and will succeed Dell's current tablet portfolio.

Currently, Dell only offers two Windows 8 models here in the States: the Snapdragon-based XPS 10 with Windows RT starting at $449, and the Atom-based Latitude 10 with Windows 8 Pro starting at $499. Prior to those, Dell's initial tablet portfolio failed to gain any traction, consisting of the 5 inch, 7 inch and 10 inch Android-based Dell Streak models. The first two were discontinued in 2011, whereas the 10 inch model is still selling in China.

Dell's failed attempt to enter the sub-10-inch tablet market preceded the launch of Amazon's Kindle Fire (11/11) and Google's Nexus 7 (7/12), both of which ignited consumer demand for the 7 inch tablet market. Not only are their prices low and their overall form factors easy to hold, but they're backed by content and services like Amazon Instant Video, Amazon Appstore, Google Play and more. Without a two-year contract, the 7 inch Dell Streak 7 cost $450 before it was discontinued.

Thanks to its prior experience with the Streak tablets, Dell is now focusing on 10 inch models or larger. However, Lalla admits that the company is "exploring" different sizes, meaning there's a possibility that the company may return to the 7 inch tablet market now that even Apple is feeling the heat by selling an iPad Mini.

Lalla indicated that the company will continue to work with ARM partners even though Windows RT hasn't been well-received. As indicated above, Dell recently cut $50 off the starting price of its XPS 10 tablet, now available with Windows RT and 32 GB of storage for $449. However, Dell's upcoming refresh may focus on Intel's upcoming Atom tablet processor, codenamed Bay Trail, slated for a 4Q13 release, just in time for the holidays.

Dell will also continue to focus on the BYOD (bring your own device) market, meaning these tablets can easily be used at home and at work without any security hassles. The company is shooting to provide better remote management, cloud and encryption features, he said.

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