While You Weren't Looking, Dell Announced A Crazy Futuristic Tablet

While You Weren't Looking, Dell Announced a Crazy Futuristic Tablet

Yesterday, you were probably too busy gawking at Cupertino's precious new watch and giant smartphones to notice anything else that happened in the world of technology. There's no shame in that. But if you were paying attention to the 2014 Intel Developers Conference in San Francisco, you might have gotten a glimpse of a pretty intriguing tablet. Michael Dell himself walked out on stage to announce the device. Here's the scoop.

While You Weren't Looking, Dell Announced a Crazy Futuristic Tablet

First off — just to get this out of the way — it's the thinnest tablet the world has ever produced. At just 6mm thick, the badass gunmetal-grey aluminium chassis handily takes the crown from Sony's 6.4mm thick Xperia Z2 slate. See how my 10.4mm Moto X looks ridiculously fat by comparison? The Dell is thin, no joke.

While You Weren't Looking, Dell Announced a Crazy Futuristic Tablet

Second, this slate also comes with arguably the world's best tablet screen: a gorgeous 8.4-inch, 2560 x 1600 OLED panel with colours to die for, including one of the most beautiful blues I've ever seen reproduced on a digital screen. It's a Samsung panel, which shouldn't be too surprising: it looks like a dead ringer for the identically-specced display that blew our socks away in our Samsung Galaxy Tab S review. Only here, the tablet is even thinner and the glass stretches from edge to edge. There's practically no bezel to block your view.

While You Weren't Looking, Dell Announced a Crazy Futuristic Tablet

Instead, there's a single grip on the left which houses speakers and two of the tablet's FOUR cameras. What could Dell possibly need with four cameras? I'm glad you asked: in addition to its other achievements, the new Dell slate is the very first Intel RealSense tablet. It's no secret that Intel has been working on miniaturizing 3D cameras for some time now, originally with the intent to turn every laptop into a Kinect. You know, control your programs with a wave of the hand.

While You Weren't Looking, Dell Announced a Crazy Futuristic Tablet

But in this tablet, that depth-sensing RealSense module isn't facing you: it's next to another rear-mounted 8 megapixel camera that you'll take your pictures with. Instead of letting you re-enact Minority Report, the extra cameras give the tablet an understanding of how far away the objects are in your photographs and allow you to manipulate them accordingly. For instance, you can tap on a point in the picture to refocus the entire image, Lytro-style, or pretend your camera lens has a different aperture after the fact (see GIF below).

While You Weren't Looking, Dell Announced a Crazy Futuristic Tablet

Using three cameras, the software can even triangulate to figure out the distance between two points in the picture: whichever two points you pick out. Intel's CEO quipped that there will no longer be any question how big a fish you caught.

While You Weren't Looking, Dell Announced a Crazy Futuristic Tablet

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. At one point, a rep converted an entire picture from colour to black and white, and back again, starting with the objects closest to the camera and progressively moving further away, so clearly it knew how far those objects were. Another example saw snowflakes drifting down onto a bicycle, and landing only on the top surfaces of objects in the photo.

While You Weren't Looking, Dell Announced a Crazy Futuristic Tablet

Unfortunately, the world's most interesting tablet also has the world's most boring name: the Dell Venue 8 7000 Series, or Dell Venue 8 7840 if you want to be specific. Just rolls right off the tongue. Seriously, folks, you might want to call it something a teensy little bit edgier if you want to get noticed. Here's a freebie: call it the Dell Scimitar.

We're not sure how much the Dell Venue 8 7840 (ugh) will cost or how long it will last on a charge, but it runs Android 4.4 on a quad-core 2.33GHz Intel Atom Z3580 processor, has Wi-Fi connectivity and 32GB of storage (reportedly expandable via microSD card), charges over microUSB, and should be available this holiday season in the United States and a few other countries.

While You Weren't Looking, Dell Announced a Crazy Futuristic Tablet

It also won't be a one-off as far as the RealSense camera is concerned: at an estimated cost of $US10-20 for the depth camera module, Intel's partners plan to integrate it into another device with LTE, and a third one with a larger screen and a keyboard.



    Yesterday, you were probably too busy gawking at Cupertino’s precious new watch and giant smartphones to notice anything else that happened in the world of technology.

    No, you were too caught up in the conditioned hype to report on it...

    This thing looks like a beast. I am very interested in it.

    Last edited 11/09/14 2:22 pm

      So true. I count 25 Apple articles published here yesterday and didn't spot a single IDC article.

      Never been a huge Dell fan, but this sleek slate might change that...

    That's a rather lovely design. In my eyes a much nicer piece of kit than what Apple have just announced (and yes, apples and oranges, but still)

    can i have those functions in my new iphone 6s?

      that's next year :P

        No, that's the rumour. @ricadam is right, those functions will be in the iPhone 7 (because in between we'll have the iPhone 6S, the iPhone 6S+, the iPhone 6C, the iPhone 6C+ and probably at least another dozen iPads)

    Blah blah blah edgier, blah blah blah scimitar

    Oh Giz...

    Who takes photos with a tablet?

    It's just a gimick. Cool ... but a gimick.

      Actually a camera has been useful for me in meetings. Notes tapped into one note, take photo of whiteboard scribbles etc. add to the notes, go back to PC and work with the results.
      I did think the same of the tablet camera before this use became apparent though.

      I do! Although it's likely due to my tablet and phone being the same device (Galaxy Note 8.0).

      Can I ask what the stigma is behind using tablets as cameras? I've heard it often enough but I can't really think of anything more than them being slightly harder to hold in place.

        It's generally because they're obnoxiously large, and can be quite distracting for others. I only have a bit of an issue when its being used at a public event, like a concert or a wedding, but if you want to take photos of notes, your kids, or the sunset with it, why should it matter if it's a tab or not?

    That actually looks really impressive. I'm underwhelmed with Apple's releases this time around, but Android tablets always seem worse than the iPad. This on the other hand looks far superior.

    Was hoping for a bit of information on the next Nexus 7 by now, as I might be upgrading from my 2012 Nex 7 this year. This and the Z3 Compact Tablet are great contenders!

    any mention of 3G for calls & SMS

    YES i like phablets.. im too lazy to carry an 8.4 inch tablet and also a 5inch smart phone..

    With Atom on board, maybe Dell will do a Windows version. Then it could actually be useful.

    That's similar to my idea. I'd put a cylinder holding batteries and tech stuff in it with the screen sticking out. The screen could then be extremely light and thin. On the cylinder I would have a couple of buttons and a scroll wheel which you could operate with your thumb. The same buttons would be mirrored on the other end so if you hold it in your right hand, all the buttons would be there. Good for lefties This would also have the weight more in your hand than leveraged out with a heavy screen. Ergonomically this would be better than holding a screen with one hand..

      Rather than a replication of the controls on the other side, why not
      A: turn the device upside down and re-orient the screen, or
      B: have a hinge mount for the controls, twist it around and THEN turn/re-orient the screen, or
      C: Have the controls demountable, disconnect and clip on the other side.

      In many cases if the touted flexible screens could be rolled up around the controls then it would make it a lot more compact than having a "bulgie" control with a superthin (and probably super fragile..) screen.

      And if one of these options come out the near future I want royalties damn it!!

    No Bezel?? So if you cover the bezel with glass, it doesnt count as bezel?

      There’s practically no bezel
      I suspect the keyword is "Practically"..

      As a slight aside, IIRC if the glass/crystal covers a framing object then it doesn't count as a bezel.
      If the frame restrains/constrains a glass/crystal it can be called a bezel. This is from a watch making/repair point of view..

      Last edited 12/09/14 6:06 pm

    Dell Scimitar? Are you trying to help Dell make it fail? Because they've managed to successfully do that to many of their tablets in the past all by themselves.

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