Dell's Streak tablet will receive its long-awaited Android 2.2 (Froyo) update starting Nov. 15. Although the Streak was one of the first Android tablets to hit the market, its operating system seemed increasingly outdated in comparison to rival devices slated to arrive on store shelves.
"An OTA (over-the-air) update will be available to customers who purchased their Streaks as unlocked units. These units will be upgraded first because they do not have to go through the carrier approval process," reads a Nov. 15 posting on the Direct2Dell corporate blog. "The rollout of the upgrade will be gradual with different regions and versions of Donut and ??Â½clair updated over the weeks following November 15, 2010."
Dell Streaks locked to a specific carrier will receive updates later in December, "as we work with our carrier partners for technical approval."
The blog posting also includes a step-by-step guide to prepare for the update, including backup of any data on the Streak.
The 5-inch Streak straddles the line between consumer tablet and smartphone. It retails for $300 with a two-year AT&T contract, and for $550 unlocked. During a recent Hong Kong event, Dell CEO Michael Dell hinted that the Streak will be the first of many tablet products.
"We're going to have a significant number of new tablets in the next year," Dell told a press conference, according to a Nov. 2 Reuters report. "There're lots of debate about the size of the market, who's buying these devices, and those questions always emerge when there's a new form factor."
Dell had previously unveiled a 7-inch Android tablet Sept. 22 at Oracle OpenWorld. However, details about that device's cost or release date remain scarce. Michael Dell's suggestion of a 2011 release date runs contrary to a September report in The Wall Street Journal, which indicated the company would launch the 7-inch Streak within "the next few weeks."
Whether or not the Dell Streak succeeds in the tablet arena, Dell plans to profit from burgeoning interest in the devices. During a summer conference for financial analysts, Michael Dell suggested that higher tablet sales would result in an increased need for Dell's servers and other hardware.
"There has to be servers and storage to support all the data that is being pulled by users, and this is an exciting opportunity for us," he told analysts at the event.
However, the Streak also faces a number of robust competitors. In addition to the Apple iPad, manufacturers such as Samsung and Research In Motion are working on tablets that will hit the market either later this year or in early 2011.