I got the Dell Venue 8 7000 tablet in last Thursday and have been using it along with the 11” Kindle I typically carry. The Kindle is the new HDX version which is an impressive product in its own right and a good value for the money but the Venue feels far more advanced and well, more magical, something I think we’ve been missing from all of the tablets including the iPad of late.
Let’s talk about that this week.
Part of what made the first iPad magical was admittedly Steve Jobs presentation; he got us to look at the product differently. It was basically just an iPod Touch with a huge screen but with that screen we could do things we couldn’t imagine doing with an iPod or an iPhone. There was a lot of effort to make this product into a productivity offering but most of the folks that tried to replace their laptops with iPads gave up years ago and now most people who have the product love it for what it does and not what it doesn’t do.
Initially what it did was run apps that you just couldn’t get to work anyplace else. The one that folks seemed to most rave about was an astronomy app that let you lift the tablet up, scan the sky with the camera, and then see the names and configurations of the constellations you were looking at. Not the most practical thing unless you had your own spaceship and navigated by constellations but it was impressive and folks loved using it.
The other thing that stood out was how easy the product was to set up and use. It pushed the envelope for ease of use and, for most, it just worked which is vastly better than either Mac or Windows PCs. In total it was magical because it did things that other products couldn’t, it was incredibly easy to use, and it got people to become interested in things, like astronomy, they could have cared less about before.
Dell Venue 8 7000
This is actually as much an Intel showcase as it is a Dell one. One of the things that has rankled Intel was that when Apple first wanted to do the iPad they could have used an Intel part but decided not to and ARM, Intel’s biggest competitor in mobile, took that glorified spot. What followed was a sequence of events that eventually forced its beloved CEO, Paul Otellini, to step down. So there is a lot of Intel pride that is tied to this product in particular because this product was partially designed to showcase that Intel can make a part that competes well with the ARM processor Apple designed for the iPad/iPhone.
And it actually is a decent showcase of this capability. The product is noticeably thinner (.24” vs, .30”) and sleeker than the iPad Mini and it looks far more advanced. A major part of this advanced experience is the unique RealSense Camera built into the product. This is a camera that uses three separate lenses and sensors so that you can actually accurately measure what you are looking at and you can change the depth of field after you take the shot. So the killer app on this product is a bit more useful than astronomy.
This is a stunning product and a showcase of what is to come in the tablet market. It does turn Intel into not only a player but a credible alternative to ARM in the critical tablet space; and the RealSense Camera, while hampered a bit by the lack of depth in the software, has amazing potential to redefine picture taking on tablets. If you are shopping for a tablet and 8” is big enough, at least check out the Dell Venue 8 7000. It sets the bar, and from it you can decide just what you want in a tablet.
The choice of cases for this tablet is still limited but there are some nice leather ones for under $20 (under $10 right now on special) on Amazon that seem to work well. Though, like Apple products, if you do use a case you tend to obscure most of the beauty of the offering.
This is an impressive product that will approach its full potential once Android Lollipop is made available for it. With this tablet, both Dell and Intel—and with Lollipop, Google—are demanding to be recognized as true powers in the personal tablet space.
President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group
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