updated 08:30 am EDT, Thu June 9, 2011
Dell prepping split-keyboard tablet with unknown O
Dell gave away plans for another but more unique tablet design late Wednesday through a leak. The unnamed seven-inch model would have a slide-out keyboard like Samsung's Sliding PC, but it would address a common complaint of tablets by splitting the layout so it could be used for thumb typing. What photos were captured in the Engadget tip didn't show it booted, but it will have at least a rear camera.
What OS it will run isn't known. A seven-inch screen makes a mobile OS like Android more likely. Dell has been one of the earliest identified Windows 8 partners, though, and could use the tablet as a rare way of standing out.
Dell appears to see the seven inch model as an eventually shipping product and has a mockup product render, though this too doesn't show the OS and just uses YouTube as a placeholder. In either case, the form might not ship until sometime in 2012, and possibly not until late that year if using Windows 8.
The Texas PC creator has so far had little success breaking into the tablet market in earnest. Apart from a mild amount of success with the original five-inch Streak, its newer Streak 7 and all its Windows tablets have usually had a tougher time competing. A new prototype points to the company still being committed to the category but trying harder to stand out through unique designs that so far have been elusive.