Dell Outlet is currently offering the Streak 7 Android tablets at their lowest prices since being discontinued late last year due to weak demand and the overall competitive state of the non-iPad alternative tablet market.
The Dell Streak 7 was notable for launching to great fanfare in January 2011 as Dell’s entry into the then-nascent Android tablet marketplace with T-Mobile as its partner in delivering a version of the tablet which offered built-in access to the carrier’s then-new HSPA+ overlay.
The fanfare soon turned into near apathy once the tablet launched that April, as the T-Mobile version simply went ignored compared to other tablets offered by the carrier, chief among them Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Dell simply could not match the pace of development that was quickly becoming the norm in the marketplace, to the point that it lagged behind major Android versions before the decision was made to discontinue all mobile development in the US last October and further discontinue support for the Streak series in December, but not before rolling out Android 3.2 for the Wi-Fi version.
However, those that purchased the T-Mobile version of the tablet were left out in the cold in terms of updates, as the much lower than expected sales of the Streak 4G forced T-Mobile to abandon the tablet not even six months after launch due to the costs in developing the updates exceeding the actual installed userbase, with the carrier deciding to reduce support to mere maintenance updates and leaving those that did purchase the tablet to fend for themselves in terms of acquiring the expected updates to Android Honeycomb that were long promised by the carrier at the tablet’s introduction.
Dell’s failure with the Streak series also underscores the major issue that such manufacturers face when attempting to enter the marketplace with such a heavily commoditized platform such as Android without having a proper contingency plan in place, as the competition from other manufacturers left it scrambling to catch up while never really being able to grab a foothold in the marketplace; this was also evidenced by its awkward handling of its attempt to compete in the smartphone market again in the Venue series, with one Android model and one Windows Phone model.
In the end, $169.99 is a great price for a tablet with loads of potential that ultimately went unrealized due to poor planning and resource management. I would strongly recommend the Streak 7 Wi-Fi version instead of the T-Mobile version simply for the availability of the Honeycomb 3.2 update, but the Streak 7 4G can be a great deal in its own right when paired up with the $30 5GB Monthly 4G prepaid plan, so long as the limitations of the operating system are taken into account when compared to the Wi-Fi version.