Dell launches Windows 8 tablet in India, can it compete with iPad & Nexus tab?

Can Windows 8 tablets take on Android-based models such as the Nexus anthe Galaxy, and the iPad? Going by the Dell Latitude 10 tablet, they may attract a particular group.

On Tuesday, Dell introduced its first Windows 8 tablet in India, priced at Rs 42,490, and a tablet-cum-laptop convertible at Rs 90,490, as part of a larger revamp of its line-up.

UPDATE – Both HP and Acer have also launched Intel Atom-based Tablet-cum-Laptops (convertible tablets). Both have 11.6-inch displays and come with Intel Atom Z2760 processor. The Acer convertible is priced at around Rs 50,000 and the HP ENVY X2 is priced at around Rs 58,000. When detached from the dock, the tablets weigh about 700 gm.

Going by the reported specifications, the Dell Latitude 10 (Windows 8) is unlikely to be a match to either the Google Nexus 10 or the new iPad 4. That said, Windows devices are targeted more at the enterprise and business users rather than the consumer segment and are more focused on software compatibility and security, rather than having the best display or processor.

In terms of pricing, the new device is likely to be much more affordable than those based on Windows 7. For example, the Milagrow X11 tab, with Windows 7, is priced at Rs 55,000 in India.

Windows 8 is designed for touch-screen use, and is therefore more suited to the tablet form-factor compared to Windows 7. It is expected that other brands will also start launching Windows 8 tablets in India in the coming days, following Dell’s lead.

The Latitude 10 will have an Intel Atom processor based system on chip (not a Core-i processor) and have mid-range specifications.

For example, the Google Nexus 10 tablet has 4 million pixels on its 10-inch screen, while the iPad 4 will have about 3.1 million pixels (dots) on its same-size display. In comparison, the Dell Latitude 10 will have only about 1 million pixels.

A higher number of pixels delivers a more ‘life like’ image and is especially important in consumer use, such as viewing photographs and videos.

In terms of application memory, the Latitude 10 will have 2 GB, equal to the Google Nexus 10 (which runs on Android). However, we are not sure if 2 GB of RAM is enough for running Windows 8 smoothly.

One area where the Dell tab scores is in storage memory. It will have 128 GB, according to endgadget, while the others have different models with memories ranging from 16 GB to 64 GB.

The Dell model is the heaviest of the three – coming in at 700-710 gm, while the Nexus 10 is the lightest at about 600 gm and the iPad 4 fits exactly in the middle at about 650 gm.

Another important feature will be price. Going by previous experience, the iPad is likely to be priced in the Rs 50,000-55,000 range and Android tablets, such as the Nexus 10, of comparable specifications are likely to be in the range of Rs 35,000-45,000. It is not clear whether the Nexus range will be officially launched in India at all.

Not surprisingly, Dell is banking on the Windows 8 operating system to sell its tab.

“The 10-inch Latitude 10 tablet fits simply and securely into existing IT environments and offers rich multi-media features, accessory compatibility, and full compatibility with current Windows applications that takes advantage of the latest advances in touch-enabled applications and allows businesses to confidently bring tablets into their enterprises.

“The Latitude 10 fits easily into current enterprise IT environments by supporting existing productivity applications and plugs into existing management consoles,” Dell said.

The other big launch of the day from Dell is the very expensive XPS 12 convertible. The laptop-cum-tablet is purely and squarely aimed at those like corporate executives who can’t get rid of their laptops, but would still like the advantages of a touch-screen. While a laptop can also have a touchscreen, it won’t be of much use unless the display can be folded fully onto the rest of the body, or be separated totally from the rest of the laptop body.

Dell has taken the folding approach with the XPS 12 convertible (while we believe the ‘detachment’ approach is likely to succeed in the long term). The XPS 12 convertible has many features that Dell would have put into the 10-inch tablet, if it was not very concerned about the price and weight.

The XPS 12 comes with a full HD display (with 2 million pixels), Corning Gorilla Glass and made out of premium materials such as machined aluminum and carbon fiber.

“The display is designed to take advantage of the Windows 8 operating system advances for touch interaction. The result is two products in one, providing the full functionality of an ultraportable laptop with keyboard plus the convenience of a tablet,” Dell said.

It also announced a new Ultrabook, the 14-inch Latitude 6430u, priced at Rs 69,990.

Dell also unveiled the OptiPlex 9010 All-in-One, priced at Rs 49,990.

For use with the touch-enabled Windows 8 desktops, Dell also revealed its first first multi-touch monitor, the S2340T, whose pricing will be revealed closer to its actual launch in early 2013.