John Paczkowski’s tongue-in-cheek headline for AllThingsD (Dell Really Hoping It Won’t Have to Discontinue Next Tablet) hints at the trouble OEM computer manufacturers face in this new world of mobile.

Dell also appears to be putting a lot more thought into its approach to the market this time around. Certainly, the company seems to understand that tablets don’t succeed on hardware or software alone, but on the ecosystem surrounding them.

“When you are talking about PC, people are more focused on the hardware itself,” Felice said. “When you are talking about the tablet or the smartphone, people are interested in the overall environment it’s operating in. As we have matured in this, we are spending a lot more time in the overall ecosystem.”

How much control over the ecosystem does Dell have?  They don’t produce their own OS so they are at the mercy of Google or Microsoft.  They don’t have an entrenched mobile marketplace so theres a vacuum of customers that needs to be filled.  And most importantly they don’t have the mindshare: when you think Dell you think cheap commoditized computers, not carefully cultivated ecosystem.

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