Dell hints at ditching Android in favor of Windows 8

By Tom Warren, on 13th Oct 11 10:55 am with 40 Comments

Windows 8 Tablet at BUILD 2011

Founder and chief executive of Dell, Michael Dell, has hinted that the company may be planning to drop Android in favor of Windows 8.

“We are very aligned with Microsoft around Windows 8. You’ll hear more about Windows 8 from us and see a wide range of products released,” Dell told journalists during a press briefing for Dell World 2011 on Wednesday, according to V3. Dell’s comments come shortly after Microsoft unveiled Windows 8 to developers at its BUILD conference in September. Dell previously described Windows 8 as “pretty encouraging” and appears to be disappointed with Google’s Android operating system. “Android is certainly another opportunity as well, but that market has not developed to the expectations they would have had,” said Dell. The company shipped an Android-based 5-inch tablet last year but the device failed to make an impact against rival devices.

Dell is understood to be readying Windows 7 and Windows 8 tablets. Dell previously teased a 10-inch Windows 7 based tablet at an event in San Francisco back in February. The company promised to bring the device to market by the end of the year. Pictures of the device leaked earlier this month, indicating that Dell might be ready to unveil its Windows tablet. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is due to speak at Dell World 2011 on October 14. Ballmer will likely detail the company’s cloud efforts with Azure but he could also endorse Dell’s business tablet offering if it’s ready to be unveiled. Dell World kicks off on Thursday October 13 and includes keynotes from Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini, VMware President and CEO Paul Martiz and Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell will provide the initial keynote address on October 13.

Dell also recently dismissed claims that the technology industry is enterting a post-PC era. Dell has been a long time advocate of Microsoft’s operating systems and has released a number of touch enabled devices. Dell’s Inspiron Duo is a hybrid device that allows users to switch between netbook and tablet modes. The unique netbook has a spinning screen that allows it to be used as a tablet.

  • Sebastian Gorgon

    the reason the device didn’t sell well is purely because Dell failed… The device was shit and wouldn’t beat the competition anyhow… Yeah yeah blame android for everything… always. 

    • GP007

      Is that why the Xoom has been flying off the shelves at record sales numbers?  Oh wait, it’s not.    Nothing outside of the Galaxy tab (which isn’t setting any sales records either) has sold well.  No one cares about Android tablets, it’s a fact.

      The iPad, one device, makes up 60%+ of the market on it’s own, while the 20 or more Android tablets together come in at 20-23%.  That’s just crappy sales all around.  Hell the RIM Playbook, which sucks, sold 4-5% as did the HP Touchpad with it’s big price cuts.  

      Fact is tablets, just like netbooks before them will switch over to Windows when the time comes.  Unlike cellphones most people still consider a tablet a PC and want something that will work with their apps as well.

    • Test1ngi23

      “most people still consider a tablet a PC and want something that will work with their apps as well”

      Why does everyone keep saying this line? Won’t the vast majority of Windows 8 tablets be ARM powered? And if so, wouldn’t that mean that the vast majority of legacy apps won’t run on it either? I mean as great as .NET is, hardly any consumer oriented apps are written in .NET. So that means that the vast majority of Windows 8 tablets won’t be able to run the vast majority of consumer oriented Windows applications. Unless most of the manufacturers go with the Intel Atom, but the last I’ve heard, ARM still beats Atom at power usage.

    • Anonymous

      What makes you think the vast majority will be ARM?  I plan on getting an Intel tablet and by the time Windows 8 comes out, Intel will have released their Ivy Bridge line of CPU’s which use up even less power than Sandy Bridge.  Intel chips may never be as efficient as ARM, but if I can get 8+ hours of battery life out one then I frankly don’t care.

    • BucksterMcgee

      Well, by the time Windows 8 comes out Intel will have completed their passively cooled SoCs. Which may be more powerful, but use less energy than ARM. In anycase, it’s intel’s answer to ARM chips. So it might very well be possible that many of the tablets are actually Intel based, and thus have full compatiablity.

      Also, a fair number of tablets will actually be far more powerful laptop like CPUs, just like the Windows Developer Build tablet is. With those, you have a device WAY more powerful than say other ARM based tablets, and it can easily become a full running laptop with the use of the dock and keyboard that come with it. I actually assume that more tablets will be sold this way at first, as people want a full power device, just in a slate form factor.

      Next, Microsoft hasn’t exactly been clear on this, but it seems that old desktop apps might be able to be recompiled into running on ARM. For some reason Microsoft has been touting that ARM will be just as much Windows as the x86/x64 version, including a desktop. They have shown Microsoft Office running on ARM, and even have shown ARM laptops without touch capabilites, again with a fully functional Desktop. The fact that Office 2010 was ported over means there is at least some way of making it work, and the inclusion of the Desktop with the ARM version supports the idea that Microsoft wants Windows 8 to be the same between versions as well as intends their to be a reason for having a Desktop on ARM. If Microsoft was the only company to have an ARM version of products recompiled, thus being the only reason to use the Desktop, as all new Metro WinRT apps don’t use the desktop, then keeping the Desktop would be silly if only to use if you have Microsoft Office. What would be even more silly is to only keep the desktop to access certain system properties that only exist in that enviroment, which I would see as a huge mistake.

      So assuming Microsoft isn’t making one huge colossal mistake (which they may very well be doing) by keeping and pushing the desktop for ARM, they must have a way to have older legacy programs be recompiled for ARM. Now how difficult that process is or not is unknown to me, but if it was as easy as simply running them through VS and recompiling for ARM, then at least the companies that want to redistribute thoses prorgram for ARM could. If going forward programs could be written for both x86 and ARM using VS for the desktop (which I don’t see the point, given WinRT) then new programs, or programs rewritten could run on ARM, but that seems like a massive waste of time and resources.

      So, given how ARM is dominating the tablet Market now, mostly because of the iPad, there probably will be some demand for ARM Windows 8 tablets, especially for those who want to break away from x86/x64, but given the great power, compatiablity with existing programs, and possbily equal or near equal battery life to ARM the Intel and AMD low power SoC’s and even more laptop like CPU’s probably will outweight those of ARM tablets. And if ARM can run desktop programs that have been recompiled, then you get the best of boths words…. depending on how you look at it.

      My biggest concern is so far the ARM version of Windows seems the least complete. The previews they have shown of ARM Windows 8 devices have been less than smooth and wonderful as it is with a full Intel CPU. I would assume their goal is to make it just as fluid, but only time will tell if they achieve that goal.

      As for me, if I can have a tablet with the same battery life as an ARM table, but also be able to load up old games like Age of Empires or Command and Conquer and whip them out whenever I like, then that seems a lot more appealing…. at least until the Metro apps grow large enough to have their own ecosystem… which will take time, no matter how optimistic you are.

    • Abiddine

      Only win32 apps don’t work on arm based PCs.

    • Jubbin Grewal

      Good thing they are blaming Android, means more people will go to Windows 8.

    • Anonymous

      I see three reasons why Android will fail on tablets.  First, they can barely match the price of iPad.  Second, the HP Touchpad $100 fire-sale and the Amazon $200 tablet have ruined the chances for Android on $500 hardware.  Amazon tablet may be “Android” but its a fork from 2.3 and it doesn’t even use the Google marketplace.  Amazon can sell their tablets for a loss because people will buy Kindle books or whatever while HTC, Samsung, and the other OEM’s can’t.  Third, and most important in my book, Windows 8.  Windows 8 gives you an amazing touch interface and when you need it, a fully functional desktop OS.  So I see the market split three ways.  People who want cheap will get an Amazon tablet or wait for fire-sales.  People who want a toy tablet will get an iPad.  People who want a no-compromise tablet will get Windows 8.  Why would anyone buy a $500 Android tablet when they can probably get a Windows 8 tablet for around the same price?

    • Anonymous

      the amazon tablet has access to the android market place. Obviously, Amazon’s market is more visible on the tablet.

    • Anonymous

      Was I wrong? I thought I read that the Amazon Android app marketplace would be used rather than the overall Google Android App marketplace.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry. I looked it up and your right. Amazon has it’s own Android market. I think I read Android Market and assumed it was from Google.

    • Anonymous

      nope. the reason is: android as  tablet os is a joke and they take it serious. but now they understand that was a dumb decision.

  • Jubbin Grewal

    And yet they drop out of the smartphone race. Will they drop out of the tablet race completely as well soon?

    • Stephen

      honestly, I kind of hope they do. Dell is probably the lowest quality oem out there, so hey. One less crappy manufacturer to spoil Microsofts name

    • Guest

      I don’t think so. A tablet is too closely aligned with a PC, as seen by the current negative impact on PC growth that tablet sales are having. Dell can’t afford to be out of that market. I’d argue they’re stupid to not also try and be a major smartphone OEM but at least there’s some separation there, at least for now.

  • Stephen Anderson

    Dell are all over the map on this.  They decide to dump WP7 as a mobile phone platform and then hint at embrassing Windows 8 as their tablet platform.  The two are components of the same ecosystem. 

    • Tom W

      Well the WP7 was a report from one source. Dell hasn’t officially confirmed or denied that it has no plans for Mango devices. It doesn’t look likely but who knows.

    • Jonny Rose

      I cant rememeber where, but I seem to remember reading something from dell the other day denying they were dropping WP7

    • Anonymous

      But they didn’t say they would drop Android either.  just like with the phone, Venue is Android, Venue Pro is WP7.

  • ama neden

    they have to make a hero device with high specs and nice design. Venue pro sucked because of microsoft’s bad image on mobile world even though WP7 wins a lot compared to android and iOS.

    Dell is one of the most important oems for MS, They need each other.

  • Lewis McCrary

    It only seems logical considering how Dell is huge business for MS and vice versa.  Snappy slates/tablets and desktops that ship with touch screens?  All running a fully functioning OS?  I think it’s a highly probable. :)

  • Anonymous

    I believe that Dell and HP realized that these half baked tablets are dying.  I think they got a look at windows 8 and were sold on it instantly.  I have never been excited about a new platform but windows 8 tablets are going to be hard to wait for.  Imagine…..a tablet sized device (7 to 12 inches) that you can take with you on the , couch, in bed, in the bathroom, or on the go.  Now imagine they have USB ports, HDMI outputs, and full driver sets to run external hard drives, tv tuner adapters, ipods/zune,  or anything else you can plug into your laptop.  You will be able to get a dock so when you need to do serious document editing you can have a full keyboard.  I also think Apple knows that the future is full OSs on a tablet, which is why Lion has hints of tablet’ish  controls.

  • Guest

    Maybe Dell clued in and realized it can’t compete with Android in the tablet market. Backing Android means going up against the least common denominator Chinese crap on price at the low end, and the very credible and still aggressively priced Amazon in the mid-range. Then you have the threat of Google eventually doing their own tablet now that they own MMI. Dell should get back to being in lock step with Microsoft. With HP currently in disarray, a united Dell/MS has a lot of opportunity in the enterprise. And Dell also showed quite a bit of success in the consumer market with their netbooks. They could repeat that with a strong W8 offering.  It’s also too bad they borked the Venue Pro. They could have been a player there too.

  • Anonymous

    The reason why the iPad sells so well is not because it’s a tablet, but because it’s the iPad. It’s a great piece of hardware, the OS is beautiful and fluid and it’s backed by a tremendous ecosystem of apps and iTunes along with Apple’s famous support. It’s an unbeatable combination unless MSFT can open up a lot of new stores soon.

    • GreyWolf

      The iPad is the best selling because it’s the only device in its class that exists and works even resonably well.

  • oolong2

    Dell is going to build Windows PCs?    Shocking…..  :-O

    I would have NEVER expected that….  ;-)

  • Shiro

    This could be great new especially since HP is getting out of the PC business and probably the tablet business too. I can’t wait to get a Windows tablet.

    • Anonymous

      HP is not getting out of the PC business.  Holy cow that was a misunderstood announcement.  HP may (or may not) spin the PC business off to a new company, but HP computers will still be made.  If they spun the PC biz off today, it would be the largest PC maker in the world and still be a Fortune 60 company.

    • Anonymous

      Trust me, HP is not going to get out of PC business. They are just in a lost position. Reason they say that is just sending message to MSFT, saying, hey, if you don’t give us the privilege we enjoyed two years before, then we are out. Do you think MSFT care? Don’t think so. The way SteveB attanding Dell conference is like saying to HP, you want out, go ahead.

      Why HP is in such a situation? Everyone knows.  

  • Anonymous

    Dells problem with any device is that stores don’t sell it.  So, you must order on their website (without ever seeing it or touching it) or go to one of the few Dell stores.  How does this even make sense?  This same theory applies to the Dell Windows Phone. 

  • majankajan

    Sorry! Wp7 has no apps and no games.GTA III and Duke Nukem coming to IOS and ANDROIDThanks to Dual Core

    • Eingoluq

      Do saying untruths on rival sites increase your Ego?

    • Justfortherecord

      don’t you mean “Egg…o?”

    • OctalMan

      WHOA DUDE!!!So all you do is play games on you phone???

      Someone has too much time on their hands me thinks.

    • Adam

      GTA on a phone? sounds … fun.

    • GreyWolf

      Tablets…. The phone discussion is, er, elsewhere.

    • Anonymous

      everyone, flag this idiot.  We’ll take down his aliases one at a time.)

  • Diego3336

    The truth is: nobody needs a Tablet, that’s why only iPad is selling well, mostly because the iSheeps buy anything with an Apple on the backside.

    • Anonymous

      So I’m an iSheep because I bought 2 iPads? Mostly I watch Hulu+ and Netflix on them. But I’ve also found a use for the newer iPad using the Remote App to control Airplay!

  • SDreamer

    Dell needs to realize the problem is the fact is the hardware they make isn’t being made. Look at the Vnue Pro, awesome hardware, it was pretty much one of the harder to find Windows Phones. Look at all their Android offerings, I’ve never seen them anywhere. Dell wants hardware to succeed, they need to first change their logo and push the hardware.