Dell has high hopes for its recent Windows 8 tablet launches, which it expects to significantly augment its traditional lineup of desktop PCs and notebooks.
During an earnings call with analysts Dell answered questions about its tablet strategy, specifically how it impacts business customers.
“We also are starting to see a lot of receptivity to the way we've approached the tablet market from a commercial perspective,” said Stephen Felice, Dell’s President and Chief Commercial Officer.
“I've been meeting with lots of customers who continue to say that they're needing to prioritize security and manageability as they try to roll out tablets in their environment,” Felice added, according to a transcript of the call on the site Seeking Alpha.
He said Dell hopes to make inroads with these customers with such products as the Latitude 10 that has security features built-in and a smart card feature as well as a replaceable battery.
The Latitude 10 is an Intel Atom-based Windows 8 tablet with 64GB priced starting at $649. It goes on sale starting December 12.
“These are things that are resonating well on the commercial side,” he said. “So that -- those opportunities are going to broaden that commercial business for us, and that should help us get back to growth.”
Responding to a question about price competition, Dell’s CFO Brian Gladden indicated the company was unlikely to compete at the low end.
“Well, our focus on tablets has primarily been in the commercial side. And the feature set that is required there matches up with a richer configuration, and we do think that there's a profit stream there,” said Gladden.
“It also has a life cycle of profitability attached to it in terms of services agreements and other add-ons that we think is attractive to us.”
What tablets are CIOs complaining about?
In an apparent dig at Apple’s iPad and perhaps Android devices as well, Gladden said Dell hear’s a lot of complaints from CIOs who are having to deal with the added cost and complexity of not having a standards-based product as a tablet.
“And so we're pretty encouraged by the reaction to the Latitude 10,” he said, “and we do see this as a profitable product in the commercial space.
Dell executive Neil Hand is one of the keynoters at the upcoming TabletBiz conference and expo in New York on November 27.