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Is Dell Getting Back in the Tablet Game Next Month?

Cindy Johnson
May 23, 2011

Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) is a little-mentioned also-ran in tablets. Its 5-inch Android-based Streak is considered a failure, although it's not clear if the recently launched 7-inch version has been more successful than its smaller cousin. In an ominous sign, the price of the 7-inch Streak was quickly dropped to $399. A recent study Dell released on the market seemed like an attempt to dismiss the tablet trend.

Down but not out
But Dell hasn't given up. Word is it will release a 10-inch Streak in June. Arguably it will compete with Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPad. But the real competition in tablets is to be a close runner-up to the iPad. Dell can approach that in two ways: low prices or offer something differentiated others will pay for.

Steve Jobs has already stated Apple is pricing the iPad aggressively. Because the iPad is unique and popular, competing on differentiation will require targeting a different type of buyer. For Dell, that means going after its core enterprise customer. 

Sizing up the competition
Dell's 10-inch Streak will compete head-on with other Android tablets, including Motorola Mobility's (NYSE: MMI  ) Xoom, Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Sony's (NYSE: SNE  ) S1 and S2. Samsung's Galaxy came out in 7-inch versions late last year (a 10.1-inch version has been announced but not released). Sony's S1 and S2 are due out this fall -- and perhaps earlier in the US.

Looking to non-Android tablets, Dell will be competing with Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ  ) webOS-based TouchPad, which has received positive reviews and is due out this summer. Research in Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) PlayBook has a 7-inch screen, so it competes more directly with Dell's 7-inch Streak.

A PC Magazine report suggests Dell will try to compete with a feature-rich offering (see table). If PC Magazine has it right, Dell won't repeat Motorola's mistake of offering only a premium product. (The Xoom, available only with 32GB of storage, has been criticized for its high price points and is said to be off to a weak start.) PC Magazine offered no word on pricing of the 10-inch Streak.


Dell Streak Pro

Motorola Xoom

Apple iPad 2


1280-by-800 pixels, roughly 

10" touchscreen

1280-by-800 pixels

10.1" touchscreen

1024-by-768 pixels 

9.7" Multi-touch screen with fingerprint-resistant coating





3G, 4G LTE upgradeable


Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR + HID



Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

Carriers AT&T Verizon; Sprint on the way AT&T and Verizon
Storage 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB 32GB 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB
Weight 1.59 pounds 1.56 to 1.61 pounds 1.33 to 1.35 pounds
Chip 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 SoC

5 MP rear camera

2 MP front-facing camera

5 MP rear-facing camera with dual LED flash

2 MP front-facing camera

Digital zoom

720p video capture

Rear camera (720p video, still MP N/A)

Front-facing camera (VGA video, VGA-quality still, MP N/A)

5x digital zoom


A pair of microphones

Docking station with built-in keyboard

SDHC memory slot

1GB of on-board memory

Dell's "Stage 1.5" user interface and enterprise application stack

Built-in microphone

A "wide range" of docking options

Can output HD video

SD card support after software update