Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) made its second attempt to break into the iPad-dominated tablet-computer market this week by unveiling a new 7-inch tablet device that runs on Android.

CEO Michael Dell showed off the new tablet device at the Oracle Open World event at San Francisco on Wednesday and said the new device will be more powerful than the Dell Streak, a tablet device that runs on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android system and doubles as a smartphone, and will sport a bigger screen -- 7-inches, versus the Streak's 5-inch readout.

However, Dell didn't mention its price, name, shipping date or other technical specifications. However, if some technology-blog sites such as Engadget are to be believed, the device will sport 4GB of RAM and flash memory, a 1.3-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, and a built-in GPS receiver.

But most importantly, the device is expected to come loaded with Android 2.2 OS, unlike the Streak, which originally shipped with Android 1.6. It's also rumored to come with a dual-core Tegra 2 processor for faster performance. The Streak runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz processor.

The new tablet -- which is bigger than the Streak but has a similar design -- joins a growing array of devices that attempt to challenge the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad's dominant position in the nascent yet fast-growing touchscreen-tablet market.

Already, technology majors Toshiba, Archos, and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) have begun selling or announced their intention to develop iPad-like devices. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) will reportedly launch a tablet device, allegedly named the BlackPad, next week, while technology giant Samsung recently announced that its Galaxy Tab, a tablet device that will launch this holiday season, will run on Android 2.2 OS and have a 7-inch screen.

However, to date, none of the devices from Apple's rivals have been able to match the popularity of the iPad, which has set a standard for tablet computers. More than 3 million iPads have sold since the device was launched in April.

The Streak, which launched in August, so far has failed to attract buyers, despite boasting a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, a rear-facing VGA camera for video calls, 3G phone capabilities, and an SD memory-card slot -- features that many wish the iPad had -- mainly because it runs on an antiquated Android 1.6 OS and is hopelessly overpriced. Critics also say the device is too big to use as a phone and too small to use as a computer.

In fact, according to some analysts, the price has been Dell's biggest undoing. The Streak costs $299 with a two-year AT&T contract and $599 without a contract. In other words, an unsubsidized Streak costs more than the iPad. And according to analysts, although people are likely to pay top dollar for an Apple product, they'll perceive any device that costs as much as or more than the iPad to be overpriced.

And even though the Streak can be subsidized, people may also be unwilling to commit themselves to a two-year contract with a mandatory data plan for a device that one doesn't really need one most of the time.


International Business Times, The Global Business News Leader

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