IW 50 Best: Dell to Launch Second Tablet; Expands China Operations

Tablet expected to feature 7-inch touchscreen.

Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell says the company will unveil a tablet computer to compete with Apple's iPad, Agence France-Presse news service reported on Sept. 22.

Dell made the announcement during an on-stage presentation at Oracle's annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco and gave no details about the gadget, its price or when it would hit the market.

Industry insiders believe the new tablet will have a 7-inch touchscreen and operate on Android software backed by Internet giant Google, AFP reports.

Earlier this year, Dell launched an Android-based Streak tablet with a 5-inch screen and a camera. The devices connect to the Internet through Wi-Fi or 3G cellular networks.Streak was for sale at Dell's U.S. website for $550, but the price dropped to $300 if buyers opted for two-year service contracts with telecom carrier AT&T. Streak tablets are also sold in Britain.

Apple's iPad has a 9.7-inch color screen.

Meanwhile, Dell said on Sept. 16 it plans to open a second major China operations center next year in Chengdu with manufacturing, sales and services to support rapid growth in the region. Dell's expansion to Chengdu supports the Western-China Development Strategy (Go-West policy) aimed at developing the country's inner-western region for trade and commerce, Dell said.

In addition, the company also plans to open an additional office at its flagship center in Xiamen and hire up to 500 employees later in 2010 to support its projected growth needs in North Asia and globally.

Dell's China-based revenue is second only to the United States, according to the company. Sales in China grew 52% year-over-year in the last quarter. Citing an IDC report, Dell says it's the No. 2 supplier of computer systems in China with a 9% share.

Dell is developing its manufacturing and customer support center in the West Chengdu High-Tech Park. The new center is expected to open in 2011 and could grow to 3,000 employees.

Dell currently operates two computer manufacturing plants and an enterprise command center in Xiamen, a global product-design/engineering center in Shanghai and an international service center in Dalian. Dell's total spend in facilities, employment, research and development and purchases from suppliers in China is estimated to be greater than US$100 billion over the next decade.


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