Dell says it won’t chase Apple in tablet race

April 7, 2010

dellstreakThe iPad is officially on the market, and here come its rivals. Dell and HP, among many others, are planning to bring their own touchscreen tablets to consumers some time this year.

Dell will launch a 5-inch tablet (said to be called “Streak,” although the company has not officially bestowed a name) in the next three to six months with a yet-to-be-named wireless carrier (AT&T would make a lot of sense, given that it will carry Dell’s first U.S. smartphone later this year).

Neeraj Choubey, general manager of Dell’s tablet division, said the company deliberately stayed clear of the iPad launch so as not to be too closely associated with the device.  The iPad, at 9.7 inches, is nearly twice the size of Dell’s tablet.

“We would be in the market at the same time, but we didn’t want the comparison,” he said.

(Choubey said he was “underwhelmed” by the iPad: “It was not what I was expecting, it was kind of like the iPod Touch scaled up.”)

“We’re not going to get distracted by what’s going on in the market, we’ll definitely see the competition, recognize it, give credit where it’s due, but we’re not going to chase markets.”

Dell’s 5-inch device will be the first in a family of tablets, most based on Google’s Android, and some with larger screen sizes. It will double as a smartphone, with users able to select data or voice plans, or both.

“We’ve struck gold with these devices… once you touch it, feel it hold it, you’ll definitely understand the value proposition.”

Choubey said Dell was “fully engaged” in talks with content providers and promised that its tablet will have all sorts of goodies for consumers.  “If I were to look at the device I would want an e-book provider, a video provider, a music provider, some sort of photo service, you can go down the list… we will support all the things that are important.”

Dell’s tablet will be able to tap into the Android Market for apps, which Choubey said compares favorably to Apple’s App Store, though it is not nearly as big.  “All the major apps that you probably use are on both. Yelp is on both, Foursquare is on both, Facebook is on both.”

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