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Another Tablet Bites the Dust

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When people think of ambitious tablets that are unsuccessfully trying to go head-to-head with Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPad, most people think of frenemy Samsung's Galaxy Tabs, soon-to-be-swallowed Motorola Mobility's (NYSE: MMI  ) Xooms, or inventory-handicapped Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) PlayBooks.

One of the last companies to come to mind -- at least to my mind -- is Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) . That lack of mindshare is part of the problem. Even PC rival Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ  ) zombie TouchPad is higher on the recognition scale, even as webOS flirts with the line between the land of the living and the realm of the undead.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in January this year in Las Vegas, Dell and T-Mobile together unveiled the Streak 7 as a follow-up to the also-unsuccessful Streak 5, both of which featured Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android. In August, the computer maker quietly axed its Streak 5 offering, since a 5-inch screen has just the right dimensions to qualify as the most awkward mobile device ever (is it an enormous smartphone or a miniature tablet?).

The Streak 7 has now suffered a similar fate, discreetly shuffling offstage after less than a year. Dell told Engadget in a statement that the company "remains committed to the mobility market," while pointing out that the 10-inch version, the Streak 10 Pro, is currently offered in China. There have been rumblings that the 10-incher would come stateside, but that hasn't panned out yet.

CEO and founder Michael Dell has mostly placed the blame of Dell's flailing tablet offerings on Android, saying the Android tablet market "has not developed to the expectations" the company had. Instead, Dell will be focusing its mobile strategy on Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows 8 once it rolls around, presumably late next year.

As much as I like Windows 8, sitting on the sidelines for a year is an eternity in tech. Microsoft is already late to the party, and now Dell wants to tag along for a belated after-party.

Add Dell to your watchlist to see its tablet strategy unfold. Get access to this free report on one company set to cash in on the mobile revolution.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Dell, Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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  • Report this Comment On December 05, 2011, at 3:46 PM, TMFMitten wrote:

    The biggest problem with the Streak 5 wasn't its size, or with Android's failure in the tablet market, but with Dell's utter failure to market it. You couldn't even buy it at an AT&T store. I get comments on mine almost every time I pull it out -- people simply never knew about it, but in my experience, those who see it really like it.

    For me its size is its strongest asset -- small enough to be a phone you can still fit in your pocket, but just big enough to function as a mini-tablet. It has, however, been very buggy, and for that reason I have a replacement on order: the Samsung Galaxy Note, with an even bigger 5.3-inch screen!

    I'm not surprised the Streak 7 died, because Dell ignored it as much as it did the Streak 5.

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