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CES: Dell plans to launch first 'consumer tablet' in late 2012

Moving on from its failed line of smaller Streak-branded tablets, Dell reportedly plans to sell a full-fledged "consumer tablet" to take on Apple's iPad in late 2012.

The Round Rock, Tex.-based PC maker confirmed to Reuters at this week's Consumer Electronics Show that it will take on the iPad and other Android-based tablets with its own offering later this year. A company official said they are taking their time to get to market because so many who rushed have failed against Apple.

"You will see us enter this market in a bigger way toward the end of the year," Dell Chief Commercial Officer Steve Felice reportedly said. "So we are not really deemphasizing it, we are really being 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 it's operating in. As we have matured in this, we are spending a lot more time in the overall ecosystem."

Felice would not confirm what operating system Dell plans to utilize for its forthcoming tablets. The ill-fated Streak, which maxed out at 7 inches, relied on Google Android, while tablets running Microsoft's Windows 8 are also being shown off by other hardware makers at CES this year.

"We like Windows 8, but we continue to develop with Android as well," Felice told Reuters. "We are still going to be more choice-driven, based on the feedback we get from customers."

Windows 8 tablets were a key part of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's keynote address that kicked off CES on Monday. Rather than adding touch controls to the traditional Windows interface, as Microsoft has done in the past, Windows 8 on tablets will employ the "Metro" user interface the company debuted on its Windows Phone series.

Though he didn't reveal a preference one way or the other between Windows 8 and Android, Felice admitted the timing of the release of Windows 8, expected to launch later this year, would be fortuitous, as he feels "there hasn't been a lot of advancement" in the tablet market.