Dell plans to re-enter tablet market in late 2012

A Dell exec tells Reuters the company has learned from others' mistakes and has a better understanding of what consumers want.

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Dell is planning to re-enter the tablet market later this year with a consumer-oriented device, according to Reuters.

The company previously tested the tablet waters with its enterprise-focused Dell Streak, an Android-powered device that was met with mixed reviews and that met its demise last month.

But the once-dominant PC maker has learned from the mistakes of other tablet makers and has a better understanding of what consumers want in a tablet, Steve Felice, Dell's chief financial officer, said in an interview at CES.

"We have been taking our time. The general failure of everyone that's tried to introduce a tablet outside of Apple" suggests that Dell was right to be cautious, Felice said in an interview with Reuters. "You will see us enter this market in a bigger way toward the end of the year. So we are not really deemphasizing it, we are really being very careful how we enter it."

"When you are talking about PC, people are more focused on the hardware itself. When you are talking about the tablet or the smartphone, people are interested in the overall environment its operating in," he added. "As we have matured in this, we are spending a lot more time in the overall ecosystem."

Felice did not indicate what the tablet would be called or which operating system Dell would adopt but said, "We like Windows 8 but we continue to develop with Android as well."

Like other PC makers, Dell has seen the growing crop of tablets and smartphones slowly siphon off consumers away from PCs. Indeed, a recent poll found that 46 percent of American voters believe tablets will eventually replace laptops.