Re: Thin and thinner
It's worth noting that the Venue 11 Pro described in the article isn't one of Dell's special, ultra-rugged models. Hand was suggesting that even their "normal" tablets are quite durable. But for the truly niche audience that needs nearly-indestructible tablets and laptops, Dell has a whole different set of devices, many of which are encased in suitcase-like protective frames.
Is ruggedness a selling point for devices such as the Venue 11 Pro? Everyone who's chimed in on this thread seems a bit skeptical. I understand that skepticism-- as Hand started knocking the Venue against the tablet, it occurred to me that though I've managed to destroy two iPhones, my iPad has absorbed all sorts of drops, bangs and bumps without incident. Despite its allegedly "consumer-grade" construction, in other words, I haven't had a problem-- and I'm sure other people feel similarly, especially if they happen to prefer iOS to Windows or Android. And even if OS preference isn't a big concern, I'm not sure if durability alone makes a Venue more attractive than, say, a Surface or an HP 2-in-1.
All that said, Hand was talking about durability over the long run. A lot of the tablets deployed in the field are under three years old. Hand's argument is that if you buy Dell, you're going to be better enabled to amortize the investment because the devices will continue to be usable for such a long period. It's hard to truly test that theory since there simply aren't many cases in which tablets have already been deployed in the field for three-plus years. I think it's clear that at the consumer level, iPads are durable enough to keep kicking for a long time-- after all, the iPad 2 is still the most ubiquitous iPad. But I'm not sure how the iPads fare after three or four years in a rough professional environment, such as a manufacturing floor, or a heavily-trafficked display in a retail location.