Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

Summary: Dell released more details about its Streak tablet today, offering specifics that hint that this device may be doomed before it even launches.

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Dell released additional details about its forthcoming Android-powered tablet device, called the Streak, today. And even though there seems to be some excitement around the release of a tablet that could possibly challenge the iPad, it's getting harder and harder to rally behind the Streak.

Why? Quite frankly, it's because the Streak is looking more and more like a product that's going to launch without any sort of fanfare, without the latest and greatest technology and without the a compelling reason to go tablet instead of phone or netbook/notebook.

A blog post on the Direct2Dell blog this week didn't offer many details - and readers who commented on that post seem to be losing patience quickly. One of the biggest beefs being expressed on its blog is news that the Streak will not support T-Mobile as a carrier. Instead, we're looking at pricing of $299 with a two-year AT&T contract or $549 without. AT&T two-year contract = Strike 1

The device, at launch, will be powered by Android version 1.6, not 2.2, aka Froyo. That update will come later this year, the company said, without offering so much as a ballpark date for that update. With that said, there are some Android phones out there that are already offering a newer version of Android than the Streak will upon launch. Old technology = Strike 2

And then there's the lack of excitement around this product. The Streak is going to have a hard enough time on the competitive playing field because - no matter what - it will be compared to the iPad. So what is Dell doing to build momentum around the launch? Not much, it seems. I have yet to see a TV commercial (maybe I'm watching the wrong channels). I have yet to see a billboard or a banner ad - not even on Dell's Web site. Poor marketing and PR = Strike 3

C'mon, Dell. I'm pulling for you on this leap into mobile Android tablet technology, largely because I'd like to see you give Apple a run for its money. But it's not looking good so far. Android technology is more advanced that what you're able to deliver at launch, which tells me that the Streak will be more of a second-rate product.

Also see: Jason Perlow: In Search Of... Android Tablets

And what happens when Google partners with another hardware manufacturer that offers something sleeker and nicer and tied to another wireless carrier? Just ask Motorola, whose announcements around the Cliq and the Droid were upstaged by HTC's Droid Incredible and Evo 4G? Motoblur on the Cliq was nice, but HTC Sense has upstaged it, too.

Dell needs to be ahead of the curve here - and it's not. And consumers who were looking forward to the Streak suddenly are turning their backs on Dell. (That T-Mobile thing is pretty big for many of them.) Consider the following comment from a Dell blog reader:

No T-Mobile, no sale.  I've been waiting for this since Feb.  Dell took far too long to release this and did a poor job of keeping us updated.  Here we are, probably on the eve of the pre-order, and I just find out that there will be no T-Mobile 3G, even after FCC clearance.  if you planned to sell it unlocked, why on earth would you restrict yourself to AT&T?  I was planning on spending $800 with you guys this week with all the accessories....guess I'll spend it on hookers instead. Even worse, while waiting for this, I put off buying the Nexus One.....The Nexus sold out last week.

Another comment drove home the point even further:

I am not a regular poster but this time I feel compelled. Dell has done a poor job with this release. Android 1.6 is not acceptable as well as not allowing the phone to be used with T-Mobile. Where is the incentive to buy one when you are so far behind the others?

Can Dell afford any more missteps in products that step saway from its core? It hasn't had much luck in the past with non-PC products. (Remember Dell's attempt at trying to take on Apple with mp3 players?) If the Streak - with all of its shortcomings - is Dell's best effort in tablet computing, then it seems clear that Apple has nothing to worry about right away.

Android, despite the growth and publicity around its devices, is still a minor leaguer trying to compete with the iPhone. That's not to say that Android won't make it to the major leagues - after all, it's definitely become a bit of a thorn in the side of Apple and, given the rapid development of the OS, it could someday be a real contender.

As much as I hate to say it, the Streak - which already feels like a strikeout - is not be the product that will put Android on the tablet map.

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Topics: Mobility, Dell, Hardware, Laptops, Tablets

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62 comments
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  • The tablet market is small

    ... probably only large enough to support a single dominant provider. Contrary to the android fanboys, this isn't a phone and people have different expectations when it comes to tablets. I think Dell and HP are both scared to commit to a major R&D and marketing effort knowling they will be creamed by the iPad anyway.
    croberts
    • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

      @croberts you're just joking right? Maybe you have extremely big pockets, but I never understood the point of the Ipad. The kindle has already been invented for the gap that the Ipad is trying to fill, short of CrApple dedicateds' need to have anything that exists with the half eaten apple on it. Why would I want a Ipad that I can't run real programs on, isn't portable, and can't surf the internet on since I can't look at flash websites? It seems about as usefull as the ability to use Opera on my Wii. I think why Ipad was originally created was because Paul Bunyan just wouldn't shut up about wanting an Ipod, and CrApple knows they have enough groupies out there it wouldn't matter how impractical it was, they would still sell. They could have made Iphone4 not accept incoming calls, and you people would still buy them.
      girarar
      • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

        @girarar The iPad is a breakout hit - this isn't just "the Apple crowd", the iPad is selling to people who've never owned an Apple product as well.

        The first thing you should accept is running "real programs" is utterly pointless on a multitouch tablet; the applications need to be redesigned. The programs you're used to would be utterly hopeless on a device that uses fingers on a display for the UI.

        Plenty of people surf the web without Flash - they even block Flash. You're not seriously telling me the web is "broken" without Flash are you?

        You're not getting it; there is a need for a system that is instant on, always connected, and fast. Yes I know that sounds like a mobile phone, but there are plenty of uses where a bigger screen is better. I used to use a Compaq TC1000 - the iPad is better.
        Jeremy-UK
      • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

        @girarar Do you live in a padded cell? I only ask because you appear to be utterly devoid of any connection with reality.

        Not only has the iPad blown the Kindle out of the water with the obviously essential element of colour, it's also half a dozen other devices all in one - that Kindle isn't and never could or will be.

        And deriding an entire group of people on the basis of their choice of technology isn't just lame, it's dumb, not least because the range of people who have bought iPads is so wide as to make it an obvious lie.

        iPad is successful because it fulfills the needs of users from top execs to complete newcomers to computing, and everyone in between.
        Graham Ellison
      • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

        @girarar Oh my god, get some therapy before you have a complete breakdown. Obviously the iPad works for millions of people regardless of what you think. I'm pretty sure that even if it was the perfect device for you that admitting that would be too much for your small mind to handle. You have a blind hatred for Apple, we all get that. Do to the blind hatred you can see the facts right in front of you so why bother posting drivel such as implying croberts has extremely big pockets because you don't understand the point of the iPad. This comment in an article about an Android tablet that costs more than an iPad unless you sign up for a two year contract, give us a break.
        non-biased
    • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

      @croberts Think of the Streak as an iPad + iPhone 4 in one device. Once you see the Streak from that perspective, you'll understand it's allure and why people are so excited about it.

      Personally, I want to reduce the number of gadgets I need to use to communicate. The Streak will not only replace my 3 year old cell phone, it will also result in using my Macbook Pro less often for things like I'm doing right now with it. I can see myself only needing to use my laptop for more heavy duty work.

      With the Streak I only need one device to access the net for surfing, watching videos, playing game, use navigation, video calls, shoot pictures, record video, make good old fashion voice calls, and I can do it all with one voice/data plan. The poor suckers who need to use both an iPhone 4 and an iPad to do these same things have to buy two separate data/voice plans. OUCH!
      mrxxxman
    • May succeed to market it to corpo. secretaries.

      Hello Croberts,
      Dell may be able to successfully market it to corporate secretaries.
      vanax
  • Not creamed by the iPad

    Creamed by the (you can buy one today) Archos 9 running a real operating system (Windows 7)(I tried to insert an upside down exclamation point to indicate sarcasm, but could not. ZDnet's commenting system sucks.)<br><br><a href="http://www.archos.com/products/nb/archos_9/index.html?country=us=en" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Archos9</a>
    davebarnes
    • Not running Windows 7, more like walking

      @davebarnes You're not serious, are you Dave? Do you own an Archos 9? Have you read the reviews? This is not a device that the majority of people would want to own. The Archos 9 uses the Z series Atom chip rather than the N series, making it too slow to do anything reasonably well. No USB, 5 hour battery. I'm afraid the world still awaits the first usable Windows 7 tablet.
      Info-Dave
      • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

        @Info-Dave

        Have you used one? I know plenty of people that prefer the touch UI of Win7 above the watered down apps of the iPad even at the sacrifice of a few hours battery life.

        Oh and for the record it does have a USB port so you can access your files without having to pay a Mobile Me subscription or have some third party app to access files on another computer that might not always be available.
        bobiroc
      • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

        <i>Have you used one? I know plenty of people that prefer the touch UI of Win7 above the watered down apps of the iPad even at the sacrifice of a few hours battery life.</i><br><br>@bobiroc<br>This is nothing more than a desktop OS band-aided on to an underpowered pad, the same way Win7 is graphed on to those old-fashioned swivel laptops that you Redmond fanbuis like to call "tablets". Ya know, the ones that 'took the world by storm' back in 2002. lol... <br><br>Let's see M$ come up with a redesigned touch-centric GUI that's designed around your finger from the ground up instead of this lazy half_assed garbage.<br><br>At least the Streak heads in the right GUI direction.
        LTV10
    • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

      @davebarnes You actually seen this thing? It doesn't run Windows 7 well enough, and Windows 7's UI is hardly optimised for touch is it?
      Jeremy-UK
      • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

        @bobiroc
        I access info on my iPod touch all the time through my computer's USB port and it has nothing to do with MobileMe. I can also access that info via Wifi. Again, no MobileMe or even iTunes is necessary.
        Synthmeister
      • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

        @ Synthmeister and bobiroc

        Synthmeister, give it up, man! These things have been pointed out to bobiroc REPEATEDLY. At this point he HAS to know that it is not true, and that he is full of it, but yet he continues to post this crap.
        He clearly knows next to nothing about the iPad, and what he does know is mostly wrong, and yet he continues to position himself as some sort of self-annointed authority.

        Pointing this out to him will get you nothing but frustration.
        DeusXMachina
      • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

        @Synthmeister & DeusX..

        Obviously you both are dense. You still cannot access the files directly from the iPad. iPhone, iPod touch and that is the point I made. You seemed to stop reading when I mentioned MobileMe because I mentioned using other 3rd party apps or being connected to the the local computer where the files reside either via WiFi or by USB/Dock.

        At least with Android based devices you can do that with a Memory Card or direct USB if the device has it. Same with Full Windows based devices and I am sure WinPhone7 will have it too in some form

        So before you attack me about knowing nothing why don't you learn to read and comprehend what you read.
        bobiroc
      • Lead

        @bobiroc<br> Nice revisionist history. That is NOT what you said. That you said was "Oh and for the record it does have a USB port so you can access your files without having to pay a Mobile Me subscription or have some third party app to access files on another computer that might not always be available."<br><br>As already pointed out to you, there is NO need for a Mobile Me subscription. Nor does your comment about the availability of a computer make any sense. What do you think your USB port is going to connect to?!? If there is no computer, regardless of device, the USB port is going to do you no good at all.<br><br>"I am sure WinPhone7 will have it too in some form"<br><br>Based on what? Certainly not from what MS is saying!<br><br>"So before you attack me about knowing nothing why don't you learn to read and comprehend what you read."<br><br>That's funny from someone whose errata posting record is as astounding as yours.
        DeusXMachina
    • Sarcasm

      @davebarnes: I have found the best way to indicate sarcasm is to spell it out like this: (sarcasm). Some people are pretty dense...!
      levinson
  • Go get an iPad Now!

    I resisted getting an iPad for all the reasons that were mentioned at launch (no USB, no Camera, AT&T, cost, Apple's Control, etc, etc). I finally got one... I don't see any real competitors being able to reach it for quite a while. I am not talking about HW, I am talking about user experience; which is why people will always buy it over existing devices. Fandom aside, its a great product. The only companies I think that could make a good product and would take the risk, and really do a great job, are MS and Google. If they are not in it, it won't happen. The only device that can compete with a stock iPad today is a jailbroken iPad. Go get one! It's gonna be a while before anything else of substance hits and sticks!
    andrej770
    • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

      @andrej770 I don't think Microsoft are going to be near for quite a while. We'll need to see how Windows Phone 7 pans out - that is likely to be a far better bet than Windows 7 on a iPad-like tablet. I don't know about Google - if they have reworked the Android apps then maybe. The real dark horse is HP and the webOS PalmPad.

      At present the iPad has a clear run, and is starting to look unassailable - competitors need to emerge soon, or call the whole thing off.
      Jeremy-UK
    • RE: Dell Streak: Details prove it's not ready for the big leagues

      @andrej770 The iPad is an immature product that was rushed to market, and it's too big. There is no reason why it should be that size considering it's good screen quality. I foresee it getting smaller in the future.

      The iPad is not portable. It's it's limited in so many ways. I know several people who own them and all but one almost exclusively use it at HOME! Why? Because it's huge for what it does and people don't want to carry that around. Logistically speaking it's no different than carrying a netbook. A little lighter but the size, the SIZE! And, even if you did take it with you you would still need to take your PHONE too!
      mrxxxman