Dell Streak Tablet Launches In UK On O2

Dell’s Streak tabet, based on Google’s Android operating system, went on sale in the UK today with mobile operator O2

Dell’s Android-based Streak hybrid tablet launched in the UK today, and is now available from O2 stores and the Carphone Warehouse, along with a range of monthly contracts and data plans.

O2’s data-only tariffs start at £25 a month, voice and data plans start at £35 a month, and business tariffs are available from £25.58 a month. Pay and go customers can also buy the device for £399.

An entertainment device

Dell’s 5-inch Android tablet is geared towards ‘on-the-go’ entertainment, social connection and navigation. It is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset, and comes with multi-touch capabilities, 16GB of MicroSD storage and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G connection. The device also offers access to Google Maps, with turn-by-turn navigation, as well as social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

The Dell Streak offers several features that Apple has been criticised for leaving out of the iPad, notably support for Adobe’s Flash technology, as well as a camera, a cellular radio and multitasking capabilities.

“What’s interesting about the Streak is that it’s set up to allow standard telephony and video conferencing, both of which the iPad doesn’t have,” Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, told eWEEK. “Yes, it is meant to be an entertainment device, but it’s also meant to facilitate telephone calls and in a smaller package than the iPad.”

Despite the hype surrounding the launch, some commentators have questioned whether Streak is actually a tablet, or rather a large smartphone. However, with the iPad providing the only real competition so far, the form factor itself is still lucid.

Apple fans queue for iPads

Dell’s Streak launch follows only a week behind the arrival of Apple’s iPad in the UK. Hundreds of British Apple fans queued outside the tech giant’s flagship store in Regent Street last Friday to get their hands on one of the first iPads to be sold in the country.

Contrary to previous reports, prices for the iPad are higher than the Streak, starting from £429 for the entry-level Wi-Fi only model, which has 16GB of storage. The most expensive model has both Wi-Fi and 3G connection, allowing users to surf the web while on the go, and costs £699 for the 64GB version.

According to research firm IDC, the successful launch of the Apple iPad is likely to spark a compound annual growth rate in worldwide media tablet shipments of 57.4 percent. Hewlett-Packard has already announced plans for a tablet product, and Google and Sony are also both rumoured to be exploring the field.

“These are early days for media tablets, an altogether new device category that takes its place between smartphones and portable PCs,” said IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian. “IDC expects consumer demand for media tablets to be strongly driven by the number and variety of compatible third-party apps for content and services.”