Dell set to stage smartwatch and wearable tech coup, hints top executive

Dell has put gadget boffins around the globe on high-alert, after one of its senior executives strongly hinted that the computing giant will join the likes of Google, Apple, Samsung, Sony, and Microsoft in the nascent wearable techology market.

Speaking to the Guardian, Dell's global vice-president of personal computing, Sam Burd, confirmed that the company was "exploring ideas in that space" and said that the smart watch was a particularly interesting prospect.

"Looking ahead five years, we expect devices and form factors to continue to change. There will still be a need for 'static' computing on desktops, but there will be a real need for mobile devices," he opined.

Burd added: "There's a lot of discussion about how that fits into wearable devices like we've seen with Google Glass and watches. We're looking at a world of lots of connected devices."

However, he cautioned that while smart headsets like Google Glass were hugely promising, the PC market may already have witnessed the heyday of truly revolutionary devices.

"I don't see any magic new form factor like the iPad – I don't think anybody saw how that was going to change devices," Burd said.

He continued: "There are challenges in cost, and how to make it a really good experience. But the piece that's interesting is that computers are getting smaller. Having a watch on your wrist – that's pretty interesting, pretty appealing."

Elsewhere, Burd reiterated Dell's commitment to branching out from the traditional PC market with new, more versatile devices running Windows 8 and Windows RT. Tablets like the Dell XPS-10 and Latitude 10, he noted, had already sold in the "hundreds of thousands."

"Michael Dell believes we are on the right page for transformation. The view is that we can get ourselves out of the quarterly reporting process where you can't make hard decisions to speed up that transformation," he said.

Burd continued: "It's going to take some time, and the jury is still out. IDC's numbers says that Windows 8 on tablets is still far smaller than the iPad, but there are successes. Maybe in a few years when we get to Windows 8 tablets being a third or 40 per cent of tablet volume we can feel it's happening. Tablets are definitely an important piece of the computing business."