Is Dell Finally Walking Away From The Android Tablet Game?

Next Story

DIY Printable Strandbeest

Nearly one year ago at CES 2011, Dell introduced the Streak 7 Android tablet. The 7-inch tab was an oversized brother to the older Streak 5 tabletphone. Much like the Streak 5, the Streak 7 featured a mobile radio, making it a versatile tablet. Plus, costing only $200 on-contract at T-Mobile, the Streak 7 was actually affordable. But it doesn’t matter anymore. Dell just killed its last Android tablet dead.

The Dell Streak tablets always felt like a “me too” product. Dell never threw its weight behind the devices. They simply tossed them out into the market and let mother nature work. The EVO 4G completely overshadowed the Streak 5 back in the summer of 2010, and despite the Streak 7’s attractive price and feature set, it’s hard for consumers to buy something they didn’t know exist. The company quietly discontinued the original Streak 5 over the summer. Then, just yesterday, Dell halted online sales of the Streak 7 even though it’s still available in select markets.

Dell of late is slow to react to trends. The company’s Windows Phone 7 offering has received the same lack of attention as the Android tablets. The Dell Venue Pro was the very last WinPhone 7 on the market to receive the much-praised Mango system update. Dell doesn’t seem to know how to handle the fast moving mobile scene — or maybe it doesn’t care.

The company is reportedly still committed to mobile per a statement they provided to Engadget. That said, recent moves, or rather, lack thereof, seems to say something entirely different.

Dell remains committed to the mobility market and continues to sell products here and in other parts of the world. Streak 7 delivered a unique experience for customers who wanted a larger screen-size yet the freedom of staying connected to their personal and professional content while on the-go. It continues to be available in many markets through retail, distributors and carrier partners such as Optus in Australia. A 10-inch version of the tablet, Streak 10 Pro, is currently offered in China, offering the ultimate digital divide between work and life. The Venue and Venue Pro devices, as well, continue to earn accolades for performance, design and functionality around the world. We also recently launched the Latitude ST, a 10-inch Windows 7-based touch-screen tablet designed for vertical markets such as education, finance and healthcare in November of this year. We remain committed to expanding our reach beyond PCs with a targeted set of open, standards-based mobility solutions and services designed for commercial and mobile professional customers.

Dell has never strayed far from its original mission of building PCs. Dell is a PC company first and everything else seems to be just a hobby. They stick to what they know: boring, yet capible personal computers. Even when the company entered the gaming market by buying Alienware, they have seemingly left the new division alone. Alienware today has the same anti-establishment appeal as the Alienware of old.

However, the company has always dabbled in the latest short-term trends. The Axim line competed with Palm and Windows Mobile PDAs like the iPAQ. The short-lived Adamo XPS demonstrated that the company had competent designers. And then, just recently, the Streak line of Android tablets allowed Dell to compete but only in a limited capacity. That said, Dell has always remained on its main story arc and didn’t let trendy items dictate the company’s path.

If the Streak 7 is indeed Dell’s last Android tablet, this event will be just a blip on Android’s story line. Dell has never been a major player in the field and probably for good reason. Android tablets haven’t managed to break into the mainstream despite major efforts from Samsung, Motorola, LG, Asus, Acer, and Toshiba. Maybe this was Dell’s plan all along: let other companies exert great effort in chipping away a foothold in the iPad mountain. If they were successful, Dell would be ready with its established Streak line, but if not, their small offering could be killed quietly.

CES 2012 is less than a month away. If Dell isn’t done with Android tablets in the short term, the company will likely use the massive trade show to launch its latest and greatest. Dell has never had a huge presence at CES, but they haven’t been shy about introducing hot products in Vegas — that’s where the Streak 7 was announced. Don’t count Dell out entirely here. If anything, the Streak experiment has shown that Dell doesn’t waste much time or money on products without a profitable future.