Dell’s introducing new tablets for launch of Windows 8, and it’s got me worried
Today, Dell revealed its Q1 2012 earnings. They were a bit rough: revenue was down 4% year-over-year, while profits dropped 33%.
Dell CFO Brian T. Gladden said during the call that "[Dell is] seeing more consumer IT spending diverted to alternative mobile computing devices." That isn't a surprise to any of us, but it seems like one to Dell; the company had hardly any luck with its Streak line of tablets and it seems that the lack of success has contributed to Dell's lack of a successor.
Michael Dell, CEO and founder, did say that his company is "totally lined up with Windows 8. You'll see [Dell] introduce tablets with the Windows 8 launch," but I don't think it's as easy a task as he's making it out to be. I mean, just think back to those Streak tablets – and all the pain that surrounded them. Read past the break to find out why I think Dell might have a hard time with new tablets.
Every prospective PC tablet manufacturer has its problems, but most of them are able to ship out their devices when promised – something that Dell is notorious for not being able to do with the Streak 5 in the US. The company also has had some issues with software; the Streak 5 shipped with an outdated version of Android (1.6) and wasn't updated to 2.2 until later in 2010, even though that version launched in mid-2010. Luckily, that shouldn't be a problem since Windows updates come directly from Microsoft, not Dell.
Now, before this turns into a rant post, I'd like to say that I'm all for giving a company credit if it can pull off a new line of products without many issues. But for me to give credit, that credit will have to be earned. Given Dell's history, I'm simply having reservations about its ability to earn it.
Michael Dell is by no means a bad CEO; he has just made a few bad decisions when it comes to consumer technology. I would love to believe that he and his company have learned from their mistakes and that these new tablets will blow the market away. Considering that he believes Dell is "totally lined up with Windows 8" and there are still roughly five months until Windows 8 is released, I do have a little faith that Dell could become a force to reckon with in the tablet market.
But like I've said, Dell will have to prove to me that it can be competitive before I can say that last statement with 100% certainty. I am still frightened by the possibility that Dell could release lackluster devices and put itself right in the position it was a year and a half ago, though. I've always thought that Dell's Streaks were well-built; I'd hate to see the ship sink with such great hardware on board.
I want to see Dell succeed. Competition is always great, but there has to be competition. Lousy products don't count as competition. The company has five more months to make its tablets top-notch so I can take it seriously as a competitor – let's hope it doesn't screw it up again.[eWeek]