Go Big or Go Home

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-05-25 Print this article Print

5. The app issue

According to Google, it now has about 50,000 applications available in the Android Market. But there's one catch that could cause trouble for Dell and its Streak: Those apps are only designed for smartphones. In other words, folks who want to use apps that they like on an Nexus One or HTC Incredible will quickly realize that if the apps require smartphone functionality in any way, they won't work on the Streak. Google has said developers will be coming up with applications for tablets in the future, but until then, don't expect too many apps to work seamlessly with Dell's tablet.

6. It's a dime a dozen

The danger of using Android OS as the operating system in a tablet is that it will be viewed by some mainstream users as a derivative device. Soon enough, several Android-based products will be hitting store shelves in an attempt to take on the iPad and capture a significant portion of the tablet market. Dell will just be one of the many companies attempting that. And all the while, the only benefactor is Google, which will be able to tout the adoption of Android-based devices rather than focus on one device that can seriously challenge the iPad. Apple has sold over 1 million iPads so far. That's unlikely to happen with the Streak. And part of that can be blamed on its OS.

7. Dell has lost its way

Dell has a long and storied history as a major player in the PC market. For a while, it was atop that space, easily besting Hewlett-Packard, Acer and every other vendor. But over the past few years, Dell has lost its way. HP has regained the top spot in the PC market and now Acer, once an also-ran in the marketplace, is the world's second-largest PC manufacturer. Unfortunately for Dell, it has only itself to blame. It followed the same market strategy for too long, failing to see what was happening in the space. And now, with the Streak, it seems like the company is once again playing catch-up.

8. Dell's mobile strategy has always been suspect

Like HP, Dell has always had a suspect history with mobile devices. The company's Axim handhelds were outstanding products, but they were available when smartphones were taking off. And since they didn't offer calling capabilities, they failed. Dell even tried its luck with an iPod competitor, and that failed. Now the company is trying to take on Apple with a tablet that, by just about any account, fails to match Apple's tablet on almost every level. It's hard to judge a company based on its past mistakes-just look at Apple-but it's hard to forget how poorly Dell has done in the mobile business.

9. It's one of many

Dell's Streak will be just one of several tablets the company plans to release over the coming year. Speculation abounds over the release of its Looking Glass tablet, which is rumored to have a 7-inch display and more capable features. If consumers find out that Dell plans to offer better products in the coming months, that might wreak havoc on the Streak's sales figures. After all, the 5-inch tablet is small, lacks power and is running what some consumers believe is a second-rate mobile operating system. If they know something bigger and better is coming along, why would they opt for the hobbled cousin?

10. The middle ground is no place to be

The Dell Streak is somewhere in the middle when it comes to tablets. It's slightly larger than a smartphone, but it's also much smaller than the top tablet on the market. That could cause trouble for Dell. Size really does matter in the computing industry, and to be the company that's offering the product that's too close to a smartphone is dangerous. That doesn't necessarily mean that consumers won't want to put the Streak in their pockets and bring it to work, but based on its size, some might be hard-pressed to see why they would choose the Streak over a smartphone.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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