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 Amazon.com'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.