Time to shove Dell into the tablet spotlight once again. A company executive revealed that Dell's 7-inch Android tablet is about to launch.
"It was showed off at Oracle World by Michael [Dell, chief executive] last week and we'll be launching very, very soon-within the next few weeks," Dell Greater China President Amit Midha told the Wall Street Journal. Midha said "a whole slew" of 3-inch, 4-inch and 10-inch devices will follow in the next six to 12 months, some running Android, others running Windows.
I sure hope Midha's remarks on the 7-inch tablet apply outside of China, if only because the non-iPad tablet field is crowded with no-shows so far. Samsung, which has been teasing the Galaxy Tab since August, still won't say when it will launch or how much it will cost in the United States. Research in Motion's Blackberry Playbook looks promising on paper, but won't go on sale until next year. Release dates for other tablets that once seemed exciting, like Notion Ink's Adam, are vague.
So any suggestion that you'll soon be able to buy a tablet that isn't an iPad is exciting news, even if the specs rumored earlier this year for Dell's 7-inch tablet are drab. Dell hasn't given any specifics about the device, but specs that leaked to Engadget in April said the device will run on Nvidia's Tegra 2 chip, with an 800-by-480 resolution display, 4 GB of internal storage and the now dated Android 2.1. (The report also said the 7-inch tablet would launch in November, which seems in line with Midha's comments.)
The launch of Dell's Streak, a 5-inch tablet, was pretty much a disaster, with missed deadlines, conflicting information and failed communication from the company. If, in a few weeks, Dell announces the 7-inch tablet, and then says "it's available right now," the company will succeed where countless others -- itself included -- have failed.