Dell replacing Android with Windows 8 in bid to compete with iPad

Despite discontinuing sales of its Android tablets last year, Dell is not giving up on the tablet market. A senior Dell executive said the computer maker can compete in tablets, especially with Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 platform.

Dell's Streak 7 Android tablet.

In an interview with Reuters, Steve Felice, Dell's chief commercial officer, said that the company's relationships with enterprises give it an advantage over Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. "On the commercial side there are a lot of concerns about security, interoperability, systems and device management, and I think Dell is in the best position to meet those," Felice said.

Dell in December stopped selling its Streak 7 tablet running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform. The 7-inch tablet was sold through Dell as well as T-Mobile USA, and its demise came after Dell stopped selling the Streak 5, a 5-inch Android tablet, in August 2011. However, in December Dell said it remained "committed" to the mobility market.

While the company misfired with Android, Felice said Dell is encouraged by what it has seen of Windows 8. "We have a roadmap for tablets that we haven't announced yet. You'll see some announcements ... for the back half of the year," he said. "We don't think that this market is closed off in any way."

Other computer makers, including Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard, plan to release Windows 8 tablets this year. The platform is based around the same user interface as Windows Phone. Microsoft has taken several steps to make sure that the platform can easily manage wireless connections. Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is also rumored to be working on a Windows 8 tablet. (Felice said Dell may make Android tablets again at some point.)

Despite Dell's enthusiasm, the company will have a long road ahead of it in tablets. A recent report from Forrester Research claims that none of Apple's tablet competitors can claim more than 5 percent of the overall tablet market. Moreover, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Monday the company had a "record" opening weekend in sales for its new, third-generation iPad; Apple sold 40.5 million iPads in 2011.

Felice said Dell will approach the tablet market in a different way than Apple. "We are predominantly a company that has a great eye on the commercial customer who also wants to be a consumer," he said. "In the areas where we come at the market, we think we are a coveted brand."

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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