Dell unveils new ultra-thin tablet
Dell Inc. this week unveiled what some are calling the thinnest tablet on the market.
Company founder and CEO Michael Dell showed off the eight-inch device - which is only 6 millimeters thick, 20 percent thinner than an iPad Mini - this week at the 2014 Intel Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The ultra-thin device - named the Dell Venue 8 7000 - has incorporated a new Intel technology called RealSense that creates a kind of depth map of images viewed through the device's multiple cameras. A user can trace a finger along the edge of an object in a photo and the tablet will display its dimensions.
The camera technology will also allow consumers to refocus pictures after they've been taken and even measure objects like furniture to see if they would fit in a room.
That functionality will help set Dell's new tablet apart, said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.
"The Dell Venue 8 7000 will be one of the most differentiated tablets in the market when it becomes available," Moorhead said.
Steve Howard, a Dell spokesman, said the technology "has a lot of future application potential."
"We're continuing to look for ways to innovate in the (tablet) space," he said.
The tablet's possibilities have created a buzz in the technology media.
"In our hands-on with a prototype unit, the depth-sensing wasn't perfect and the Dell software to manipulate those images was quite buggy, but I saw enough examples to be convinced the technology really works," wrote Sean Hollister for the tech site Gizmodo.
Another site, The Verge, called the tablet "the most exciting Android tablet this year."
The tablet will be available for purchase in November, but Dell officials did not release pricing information.
The new tablet is part of Dell's strategy to continue investing in the personal computer and tablet markets.
Devices such as PCs and tablets remain an important focus for the company, despite the rapid decline of the global personal computer market, Michael Dell told reporters last year as he won shareholders' approval for his $25 billion offer to take the company private.
Moorhead said he doesn't think Dell would have released such a product before going private.
"They can take more risks, do things a lot quicker and they don't necessarily have to explain themselves financially to everybody," he said.
Dell is the largest private employer in the Austin, Texas, metro area, with about 14,000 of its 100,000-plus employees in Central Texas.
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