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Dell Cures iPad Envy by Dating Android

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The tablet wars are taking on a preteen feel.

Earlier today, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) said it would begin selling its tablet computer -- the Streak -- in the United Kingdom next month. A U.S. version is due later this summer, Dell blogger Lionel Menchaca wrote in a post. But he didn't stop there.

"I've been at Dell for 16 years, and I don't think there's ever been more buzz around a single Dell product than this. In my view, that's for good reason," Menchaca gushed. "Hardware and design-wise, this thing impresses. Add the ever-increasing capability that Android brings to the equation, and you've got a mobile device that offers a ton of flexibility while looking cool in the process."

Cue the Degrassi theme. Dell, the envious outsider, gets help from distantly cool rebel -- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , in this case -- in getting back at the popular kid: Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) and its million-selling iPad.

To its credit, Dell isn't just trying to mimic the iPad. The Streak's feature list includes items noticeably absent from Apple's offering, such as an autofocus camera and Google Voice. Dell has also included a Micro SD slot to make the Streak expandable. And by leveraging Android, Streak users will get access to roughly 38,000 apps immediately.

Dell's also using the Streak to go after Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN  ) and TomTom. As has become custom with some Android devices, the Streak will offer voice-activated, turn-by-turn navigation using Google Maps.

In short: There's enough geeky goodness here to justify Menchaca's raving.

Dell also deserves credit for being out in front of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) , its main PC rival, with a functional tablet. HP could take years to integrate its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) and create a webOS tablet. The lag could give Dell an earnings boost, catering to customers who won't buy an iPad and who've come to think of's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Kindle as more software than hardware.

But I expect that to be the minority. For as much joy as Dell should get from streaking with Google, it's still Apple and its iPad that are dating the market's cash-rich cool kids. All 1 million of them.

Would you buy Dell's Streak? How does it compare to the iPad? Discuss in the comments box below.

Amazon and Apple are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy had a streaking streak in college that it now wishes it could forget.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (4)

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  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2010, at 3:15 PM, XMFTom7 wrote:

    Heh. Oh my, talk about unfortunate device naming a la "iPad" ... anyone else here grow up in the '70s and remember Ray Stevens' song "The Streak"? ;)

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2010, at 3:58 PM, JamieCK wrote:

    I have to say that I do think a Dell/Android tablet would be a pretty formidable alternative to the iPad. Would it takeover the whole market? Of course not. But I'd be surprised if it didn't gain a pretty good market share of this product.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2010, at 1:37 AM, Jehnavi wrote:

    I am still hesitating to call the Dell Streak a tablet because of the size. The Streak is somewhere between a tablet and a cell phone. It is much smaller than an iPad and much bigger than a cell phone. The Streak has a five inch touch screen which is made of resilient glass. I tried scratching the glass with my car keys and there was no effect on the screen. Below the display, there are three capacitive buttons for menu, back and home; which is typical of a cell phone. The screen performance of the Dell Streak is really good owing to the one GHz Snapdragon processor. Flicking my fingers through the screen was as smooth as the iPhone or iPad. On the entertainment front, there is plenty on the Dell Streak. You have music and video player and also services like Pandora for streaming music online.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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