Dell Preps Tablet Hybrid

DALLAS ( TheStreet) -- Dell ( DELL) is ramping up its consumer strategy, preparing to unveil a slew of new products, including a tablet/netbook hybrid, more smartphones, and a line of multimedia notebooks.

The tech giant, which is scrambling to challenge Apple ( AAPL) and Research In Motion ( RIMM), has given TheStreet a sneak preview of its forthcoming product launches.
Dell

Hot on the heels of the company's 'Streak' mini-tablet comes the Inspiron Duo, a netbook/tablet hybrid with a 10-inch swivel screen. Running Microsoft's ( MSFT) Windows 7 operating system, and powered by a dual-core Intel ( INTC) Atom processor, Dell will launch the Inspiron Duo at the beginning of December.

The tech giant has not yet disclosed a pricetag for the Duo, but has described the device as a "mid-tier priced product." Steve Felice, the head of Dell's consumer business, also confirmed that other tablets are in the pipeline.

"We will offer a variety of styles and types," he explained. "We will have classic 10-inch tablets, but also these other types of devices."

Dell is also planning to update the Streak in November, adding its 'Stage' software to the device. Stage, which is similar to Apple's iLife, is used to manage photos, videos and music, and was recently launched on the company's new Inspiron One desktop.

Dell, which launched its Aero phone earlier this year, is also planning to launch more smartphones over the coming months. These include the Venue Pro, a Windows device with a 4.3-inch OLED touchscreen and a Qwerty keyboard, which will be available in the next few weeks via T-Mobile.

Another version of the smartphone, the Android-powered Venue, comes with the same screen, and also features curved glass from Corning ( GLW). Dell, however, has not yet revealed when the Venue will be available.

On Thursday Dell also took the wraps off three new laptops, with 14, 15, and 17-inch screens. The computer maker is touting the XPS family of products as the industry's first Skype-certified laptops, and the devices come with HD video streaming webcams. The 15-inch and 17-inch notebooks also come with subwoofers, specialized speakers from JBL which Dell claims are twice as loud as any other notebooks on the market.

Available next month, the XPS products are aimed at creative professionals, as well as people that watch a lot of content on their notebooks. "If I were a college student, that would be the type of notebook I would want in my college dorm," said Dell's Felice.

Clearly looking to claw share from the likes of Apple, Dell is also planning to kick off a major ad campaign next month. "You will see it everywhere," explained Felice. "It will be on TV, on billboards, in airports and in catalogues."

Some analysts, though, have recently urged Dell to focus its attention primarily on the small-to-medium business market, a growth area for the company.

Felice, however, told The Street that consumers account for 19% of the firm's overall revenue. "We see enormous potential for that to get much bigger," he said.

"Dell is ready for the holiday season - we have completely revamped our consumer business," added Felice. "We have made it easier for customers to navigate through the company and we have dramatically improved our delivery times."

Shares of Dell closed down 9 cents, or 0.61%, at $14.60 on Thursday.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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