Dell will push aggressively into the tablet market with new devices next year, as the firm aims to tempt business users and compete with the Apple iPad.
Dell chairman and chief executive Michael Dell said at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Hong Kong that the company will announce a cloud computing acquisition and a "significant number" of tablets in 2011, according to Reuters.
A 7in version of the Dell Streak, unveiled at Oracle OpenWorld in September, is expected to spearhead the tablet push, and will be aimed at the enterprise sector.
Dell stated that it will take time before the tablet market becomes clearer, and acknowledged the phenomenal rise of Google's Android platform in portable devices.
"There is lots of debate about the size of the market and who's buying these devices, and those questions always emerge when there's a new form factor," Dell told Reuters.
"What's interesting about the smartphone space is how it's changing into a more open modular system. It's staggering that Android has now surpassed Apple in terms of originations, and this is happening at a much faster rate than folks had envisioned."
Tim Coulling, an analyst at Canalys, told V3.co.uk that he anticipates a number of tablets to enter the market next year.
"Many tablets will be aimed at consumers but, with the trend of consumerisation, these devices will increasingly be taken into the workplace. It will be up to chief information officers and IT managers to decide which non-Windows platforms they support," he said.
"Using Windows-based devices makes sense as they have legacy applications, but as iOS and Android add functionality and business applications more enterprises will look to use them."
Coulling also expects Dell to ship a 7in Streak at the end of the year and a 10in version in early 2011, following the launch of the Windows 7-powered HP Slate 500 in the US.
"Dell tried something a bit different with the 5in Streak, but ultimately the device is very close to a smartphone. The extra inch doesn't deliver additional functionality over larger Android handsets," he said.
"The HP Slate is targeting businesses which use touch-based applications, and it will be a surprise if the wider enterprise market picks up this device."
Windows 7 does not provide a great touch experience, according to Coulling, and it is hoped that the next version of the operating system is built around touch input.
"Tablets will not take off until there are competitors to Apple. Next year is shaping up to be the year of the pad, and we expect shipments by the end of 2011 to be similar to netbook sales," he said.
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