There has not been a ton of news out of Dell recently beyond the company’s ownership. Hardware-wise it has been almost completely quiet for the last year. That all changed this week when Dell introduced four brand new tablets, in their hope to get their consumer brand back to where it was a few years ago. The announcement includes two Windows tablets, and two Android-based tablets.
Windows 8.1 Inside
Dell announced two different Windows tablets. The first, the Venue 8 Pro is an 8-inch tablet running Windows 8.1. Here are some of the specs Dell announced:
- 1280 x 800 IPS Screen
- 0.87 pounds
- 9mm thick
- Micro-USB, Micro-SIM, and microSD slots
- 32 or 64GB storage options
The tablet ships October 18th for $299.99.
The second tablet is much more interesting to those who want a true Windows tablet experience. The Venue 11 Pro is Dell’s counter to Microsoft’s recently announced Surface Pro 2. Here is what we know about the Venue 11 Pro:
- 10.8 inch, 1080p IPS screen
- A Bay Trail Intel Atom Processor (no word on clock speed), with an optional Core i5 Haswell upgrade
- 2GB of RAM, up to 256GB of internal storage
- It weighs in at 1.57lbs, more than a quarter pound heavier than the iPad
- USB 3.0 port
- An enterprise version that comes equipped with a fingerprint reader and a SmartCard reader.
The Venue 11 Pro ships in November for $499.99.
Customization is the Key to Success?
There are other manufacturers out there that allow for customization of the their tablet lineups, specifically those that are meant to be used as dual purpose laptops. Dell is allowing for what seems to be a broad range of customization, at least on the Venue 11 Pro. If that is enough to set them apart from Microsoft’s hardware and other hardware vendors, remains to be seen.
The Android Side, Not for Pros Apparently
On the Android side, the names drop the Pro moniker; Dell announced the Venue 7 and the Venue 8. Both tablets have similar specifications:
- Android 4.2.2, which will (according to Dell) be upgraded to 4.3 and 4.4 eventually.
- 1280 x 800 IPS screens (one at 7 inch, one at 8 inch
- 10 hour battery life
- Clover Trail Plus Intel processors (last gen)
- 2GB of memory
Neither of these devices is supposed to be top-of-the-line. The point is to be as cheap as possible, and with that at least, Dell succeeds. The Venue 7 comes in at $149.99, while the Venue 8 drops in at $179.99. Both tablets will ship October 18th.
Windows RT Be Gone!
It seems that Microsoft is the only company on the planet that is still producing a Windows RT tablet. Not one of the Windows tablets announced by Dell on Wednesday runs the low power ARM version of Windows, both opting instead for Intel powered Windows 8.1 Pro. Interestingly, but probably unrelated, the Android tablets are also powered by Intel processors. Intel has been making a push lately with their updated “Atom” segment architecture. The new architecture provides greater performance while process shrinks and SoC designs lower platform power consumption. Whether this is a good decision on Dell’s part remains to be seen; there have been no fantastically successful Android tablets powered by Intel mobile processors.
There are two things to point out about this announcement other than Dell is again trying to get back into the tablet game: the ability to customize the Windows Pro tablets, and the low prices of the Android tablets. Both Amazon and Google ship better tablets at similar price points (in terms of specs at least), so it will be interesting to see how the Dell Android tablets do when they enter the market later this month.
On the Windows side, the price is not that surprising, though the Venue 11 Pro bests Microsoft’s pro tablet by over $400. The question is, are they any good? For the answer to that question, we’ll have to wait until these can be found in the wild.