Dell goes Streak-ing, ends up naked in a room full of iPads

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

Dell's new hopeful iPad killer, the Streak, goes on sale today and although the entire tech community is keeping eyes on it, it seems to be more like everyone's watching a train wreck than an exciting new product launch.

The Streak is a very noteworthy device for a lot of reasons. It is the first real gutsy competitor to the iPad in terms of its appeal, design, and price structure. It's also the first major consumer device that uses Google's Android operating system on something that is marketed for use other than a mobile phone.

However, reception is already lukewarm at best. PC World has published an article entitled "Five Reasons You Don't Need the Dell Streak," while analyst Avi Greengart told Eweek.com, "It seems that the Streak would be too big to use as a phone, and too small as a tablet," adding that selling mobile devices exclusively over the Internet "doesn't work."

So let's break it down. The Streak isn't exactly an iPad. It's a big smaller. Dell wants to maximize portability with its first Android gadget. Secondly, to get the attractive $300 price, consumers will need to sign up for a 3G data plan from AT&T. Some are saying the Streak will act more as a phone than a tablet, but there's no mistaking what market segment Dell is hoping to attract. It wants to take on the iPad. If (and more likely when) it fails, though, Dell wants the insurance of being able to say that it was never a direct iPad competitor in the first place. Baloney.

As the PC World article notes, anyone who wants to buy the Streak as nothing more than a multimedia tablet - that is, without an AT&T contract - is going to need to pay $550, or $50 more than they'd have to pay for an iPad.

In an earlier hands-on report with the Streak, ZDNet blasted the device as a mediocre middle-point between an iPhone and an iPad, erasing the selling points of both Apple products in the process. It's not big enough to really enjoy watching movies, and it's too big to function as a phone without being clunky.

There is almost no genuine hype about the Streak from outlets that are really excited about it. Most are simply puzzled as to why Dell didn't just go with either a more traditional smartphone or something that really went head-to-head with the iPad.

It certainly is an intriguing device. It's unlike anything else on the market right now, but different isn't always a good thing, and if I was a betting gal, I'd put my money on an early demise for the Streak.