Something of a latecomer to the tablet market, despite its innovative mobile devices like the Dell Streak, Dell looks to be aiming for the innovation high ground again, with the debut of the Venue 8 7840, which it claims to be the world’s thinnest tablet, at 6.4mm (0.24 inches) thick. And this device is already on sale at Best Buy for $399.00.
This does actually put the Venue 8 in the same league as the iPad Air 2, which also weighs in at 0.24 inches thick according to headline numbers, albeit 0.3mm better off at 0.61mm. So although the thinnest tablet goal may be a little off, it is at least the thinnest Android tablet – until a thinner one comes along – and it does beat even the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which is 8.3mm (0.3 inches) thick. And presumably it was the thinnest, back in September 2014 when it was first announced, which shows the flaws in this whole record-chasing racket.
The other slight disappointment on this, though, is that the machine comes with Android 4.4 KitKat as its OS. Although I appreciate that the whole Android ecosystem is still struggling to accommodate Android 5.0 Lollipop, it would still have been good to see a (6.4mm) cutting-edge device equipped with Android’s latest and greatest OS. Otherwise, you’re already getting that slightly dated feeling. Lollipop is supposed to be feeding out to a great many devices running KitKat anyway – let’s hope that the Venue 8 7840 is one. But with an 8-inch screen and such slender dimensions, it could still end up as a first choice for many ebook readers.
In the gadget market, Dell is the very epitome of dull. Hopefully, the fact that Dell has taken up the silly “thin is cool” mantra will kill that fad off. Yes, there’ll be another fad, but perhaps one that’s not as silly or potentially harmful.
It’s absurd for Apple and others to struggle to make their device a few hundredths of an inch thinner. It doesn’t make an already thin product any better, instead:
* It means a smaller battery, which reduces how long the device can be used.
* It means less space for air to move through, and thus perhaps more heat troubles. That’s what may happen to the next Mac Book Air, reputed to be fanless. I know I’m not planning to buy one of the early models.
* It increases the case’s flexibility, when can result in less reliability.
Yes, I look forward to the day when product designers such as Apple’s Ives tell us that “X is the new thin,” whatever X is.