Dell Inc laptop computers are displayed at a computer market in Beijing. The company said on Thursday that it will launch the "Streak" tablet PC in the Chinese market by the end of April. [Photo / Bloomberg]
Computer maker set for Chinese launch of first model this month
BEIJING - Dell Inc, the world's third-largest PC maker by sales volume, will launch its "Streak" 12.7 cm tablet PC in China by the end of April and the 25.4 cm version will be released in June, said the company's Global Vice-President Michael Yang on Thursday.
The third-generation touch-screen tablet PC with voice-call function will be launched in the Chinese market much later than the United States and the United Kingdom.
Dell will also launch two versions of its 25.4 cm tablet PC - one with Microsoft Corp's Windows Mobile operating system and the other with Google Inc's Android system - in June.
The 25.4 cm tablet PC will add to Dell's present tablet line-up. The company did not reveal when will the new device will be launched in China, because "it still needs to get approval from the government", said Allan Hsiao, Dell's marketing director for Greater China. He said that the 12.7 cm version will retail at around $500.
"The price is not very competitive for the Chinese market, because prices for Apple's iPad were reduced last month. However, it is still too early to say, since a lot of new products will be launched this year," said Wang Jiping, a senior analyst at the US-based research company IDC.
Sales of tablet PCs in the Chinese market are forecast to be around 4.3 million units this year, Wang said.
Although many companies are competing for market share in the nation's tablet PC sector, Jeff Morris, the marketing director of Dell's Asia-Pacific and Japan Business Client Product Line Management, said, "in fact, it doesn't really matter how many Dell tablet PC products are sold, because our emphasis is on added-value services, including IT solutions and storage services behind the devices."
Dell shifted from being purely a hardware maker to an IT solution provider several years ago after profit margins for personal computers began to shrink because of competition and a slowing market.
In an exclusive interview last month, the company's founder, Michael Dell, told China Daily that the company plans to shift its focus to corporate business, which is set to become the fastest growth sector for Dell China.
Morris said that the company combines its hardware and software to provide customers with a complete solutions package. Security services and IT management solutions are the backbone of Dell's business, he said.
The company will invest $1 billion over the current fiscal year to develop IT solutions such as cloud computing (using the Internet for data storage), build new data centers and merge more IT solutions services, said Paul Bell, Dell's president of public and large enterprise business units.
Bell said that the solution and storage businesses are equally important to Dell's PC division, which still accounts more than 50 percent of the company's sales revenue.