Dell StreakThe tablet market has become one of the most fiercely contested spaces over the past year and a half. As hard as companies try, nothing has been able to dethrone Apple’s gargantuan iPad, although Amazon’s Kindle Fire is certainly on the right track. Manufacturers are beginning to realize it’s not just about the hardware end, though that’s certainly important, but about ecosystem as well. Just ask Dell chief commercial officer Steve Felice. The PC-maker made a less than stellar impact with its Streak tablet – a lesson they hope to rectify with a more focused approach in late 2012.

Speaking with Reuters, Felice said the Round Rock-based company is “spending a lot more time in the overall ecosystem,” stressing the company better understands an ecosystem’s value. While companies continue to churn out product after product, Dell is keeping a low profile to really get things right. At least for now.

“You will see us enter this market in a bigger way toward the end of the year. So we are not really deemphasizing it, we are really being very careful how we enter it.”

What ecosystem Dell will enter into remains to be seen. When asked, Felice said both Android and Windows 8 are viable options, but that the company may be leaning more toward Microsoft‘s bourgeoning system. “We like Windows 8 but we continue to develop with Android as well. We are still going to be more choice-driven, based on the feedback we get from customers.”

With such a measured approach, is the end of 2012 too late to get back into the tablet game, especially with the iPad 3 (and a host of Android tablets) hitting much earlier? Dell’s previous effort in the Streak doesn’t exactly make us the most optimistic bunch, but if Felice’s comments are to be believed, maybe the company is on the right track. At least its head is in the right place.