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Dell unveils 10-inch Windows 7 tablet

At Dell Means Business event in San Francisco, company unleashes 39 new products, including a new Windows tablet aimed at businesses.

Dell Win7 tablet
Steven Lalla, vice president and general manager of Dell's commercial client product group, holds up a nonworking mock-up of the company's new commercial Windows tablet. James Martin/CNET

Dell expanded its foray into tablets today with a new 10-inch Windows 7-based device designed, the company said, for users "who need greater mobility, as well as IT organizations that demand control, security, manageability, and integration with existing infrastructure investments."

The Windows 7 Business Tablet, which will run on an Intel processor, could be available by the middle of the year (note that the tablet in the above photo is a nonworking mock-up of the machine).

The tablet was among 39 new products unveiled at the company's Dell Means Business event in San Francisco this morning. They include laptops, desktops, workstations, and a convertible tablet, the Latitude XT3 (a follow-up to the laptop/tablet hybrid XT2).

The Latitude XT3 is a follow-up to the laptop/tablet hybrid XT2 (click to enlarge). James Martin/CNET

But the news out of the event likely to grab the most attention is the Win tablet, even though details on specs remain scant and we don't yet have a price or a release date beyond sometime later this year.

Businesses want Windows because it fits into the IT management scheme, Steven Lalla, vice president and general manager of Dell's commercial client product group, said at the event. Not to say Android doesn't, he added, but he maintained that a bigger chunk of the business sector wants to go the Microsoft route.

The new touch-screen tablet, however, will also come in a 10-inch Android version, apparently named the "10-inch Android Tablet," at least for now. That means neither version will fall under the Streak banner.

The Latitude-E series of laptops, meanwhile, has gotten a refresh. The new Latitude E5000 laptops, starting at $859, come in 12-, 13-, and 14-inch models that feature Intel second-generation core processors, new graphics and memory, and backlit keyboard options.

As expected from a business laptop, they have hard-drive accelerometers and remote IT features, including remote data deletion. The keyboard is also the same across the entire line, which the company says will make it easier for business workers to switch devices.

But while IDC estimates that one third of the world's workforce will be mobile by 2013, and Dell took great pains to emphasize that segment, the company also focused on its three new OptiPlex desktops, a new small form factor all-in-one design, and an update to its Precision workstation line.

"We have 30 years in which the PC has proven to be able to adapt itself to the environment," said Rick J. Echevarria, vice president of Intel's Architecture Group, adding that "rumors of the death of the PC have been greatly exaggerated."

The new Optiplex desktops start at $650. They have the new Intel vPro processors, planned compatibility with the desktop virtualization lineup, and tool-free access to system components (meaning the back just pops off). Dell also said that since none of these systems is scheduled to ship in the next 30 to 45 days, they should go out with the updated version of Intel's Cougar Point Sandy Bridge-compatible chipset, which does not contain the recently discovered Cougar Point SATA flaw.

Dell says it interviewed 7,000-plus Gen-Y customers, IT managers, and other business segment customers to figure out what people want out of Dell's business products.

Dell laptop
To design its new business laptops, Dell hosted focus groups over 18 months. James Martin/CNET

CNET reporter Josh Lowensohn contributed to this report.