Dell introduced four new low-cost tablets on Wednesday that run on Intel processors, shutting out ARM-based processors from its launch, even for Dell's Android machines. Two of the four tablets run on Android -- the 7-in. Dell Venue 7 and the 8-in. Dell Venue 8. Both use Intel's Atom Z2760 Clover Train processors, a chip designed to conserve battery power.
The Dell Venue 8 tablet is powered by Intel's Atom Z2760 Clover Train processors. The tablet will sell for 179.99
Intel developed the chip in part to compete against battery-conserving ARM-based processors built by Qualcomm and Nvidia, which have been suppliers for nearly all the Android-based tablets that have shipped.
The Venue 7 will cost $149.99, making it one of the lowest priced tablets on the market, while the Venue 8 will cost $179.99.
The other two new Dell tablets run on Windows 8.1 and the Intel Atom quad-core processor code-named Bay Trail. They are the 8-in. Venue 8 Pro, which will sell for $299.99 and the 11-in. Venue 11 Pro, selling for $499.99.
At an event in New York City, Dell officials said they are not planning to provide refreshed models of Windows RT-based tablets. Dell discounted the price of its first-generation Dell XPS 10, amid reports of slack sales. The tablet ran on the ARM-based Qualcomm Snapdragon S 4 and Windows RT, which was widely criticized for not running legacy Windows applications as Windows 8 did.
Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, called Dell's tablet prices "very aggressive" and pronounced the company's exclusive use of Intel processors "a major coup for Intel."
With the affordable pricing, Dell is "doing the right thing by trying to re-invigorate sales," Gold said. "New, innovative devices is what it will take to get the market moving. So I applaud them from taking the risk with the Venue Tabs ...They are trying to move out in front of the competition -- mainly HP and Lenovo."
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, noted that Dell built one of the first 7-in. tablets that didn't sell well. "Since then, they've been quiet for the last few years, hand-wringing about their next steps in client devices while watching Apple and Samsung walk away with the business."
The new devices show that "Dell is back and aggressive as ever," he said. "I'm impressed with the value their Android tablets bring."
Moorhead said the Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet and a new Dell XPS 11 2-in-1 ultrabook, also announced Wednesday, are impressive for bringing a "giant leap" in display resolution. The Venue 11 Pro has HD resolution, while the XPS has Quad HD resolution, at 2560 x 1440 pixels.
Dell is also calling the Venue 11 Pro tablet a 2-in-1. The device has the power of an ultrabook and a detachable keyboard that can be added for a desktop computer experience. It also has a removable battery, unlike many other tablets on the market.
Dell is selling the XPS 11 Pro for $999.99. Two other laptops that were announced include the XPS 13 for $999.99 and an XPS 15 for $1,499.99. All the new Dell tablets except for the Venue 11 Pro, and the new XPS 15 will be available on Oct. 18 on Dell's website. The Venue 11 Pro, XPS 11 and updated XPS 13 with touchscreen capability will be available in November, Dell said.
The three laptops announced also include Intel's latest fourth-generation Core processors code-named Haswell.
Dell had trouble with a livestream of the event, which was repeatedly interrupted, and brought some derisive comments from reporters and analysts trying to watch. Dell indicated in a note attached to the livestream Web site that it is now the "largest startup in America" since founder Michael Dell took the company private last month.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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