It’s been a long courtship, but Dell has finally found a match made in Heaven for its Streak mini-tablet and combination smartphone. Optus will launch the device in Australia with a three-month exclusive starting from October 1.
One of a number of tablet devices based on Google’s Android operating system slated to hit Australia over the next six months, the Streak attracted a substantial level of interest from consumers when Dell started demonstrating it to local journalists several months ago.
Since that time, it has been overshadowed by Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which the company yesterday announced would launch in November this year through all of Australia’s mobile carriers.
Howeve, Dell has revealed it would upstage the Tab by flagging the October release of what it billed as “the first Android tablet device to be launched in Australia”. The tablet will be available for zero dollars upfront through Optus on a $59 monthly contract. 2GB of download quota, unlimited national SMS and MMS messages and up to $550 worth of calls will be included in the plan.
The Streak – which, with its 5” screen, is smaller than the Tab at 7” – will also sell for significantly less than the Samsung device on a standalone basis. The Tab's outright price will be $999, whereas the Streak will be available for $649.
The Streak will also be available on $49, $79 and $99 monthly plans, including 1GB, 2GB and 3GB of mobile data respectively and increasing amounts of mobile phone calls. Optus also throws in unlimited mobile access to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, eBay, Four Square and MySpace on its mobile network.
“We’re very excited about the Dell Streak coming to Optus and providing such a unique device to our customer base. The Optus Open Network is the perfect medium for people to experience the full functionality of a tablet, such as the Dell Streak,” director of Optus’ Digital Media division, Austin R. Bryan, said.
President of Dell’s Communication Solutions division, Ron Garriques, said his company had “found a way to fit Australians’ whole world in a five inch screen”.
“Dell believes its entry into the mobility market in Australia will be best leveraged by the Dell Streak. It is not only the first Android-based tablet to be launched in Australia, but it is also a unique size and capable of delivering both a rich multimedia and voice experience on an Android platform,” Dell Australia’s general manager for Indirect and Telecommunications Channels, Matt Telfer, said.
The Streak’s display is a 5” WVGA capacitive touchscreen featuring multi-touch capability and a 800×480 resolution. The device also features a 5 megapixel camera on its back, an additional camera on the front for video calling, a removable battery and built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile calling and broadband functionality. It has 2GB of internal storage and comes with an additional 16GB storage card.
The tablet runs Qualcomm’s 1GHz Snapdragon processor and supports mobile broadband speeds of up to 7.2Mbps.
In Dell’s statement, research director at analyst firm Telsyte, Foad Fadaghi, said the company was seeing strong interest from consumers in tablet computing devices — with 28 percent of those polled in recent research indicating a desire to acquire one of the new class of devices. And it doesn’t stop there.
“Thirty per cent of ICT business decision-makers indicated they intend to adopt tablet computing within the next three years, while this figure grows to 40 per cent in larger enterprises,” Fadaghi said.
The education sector is particularly interested in tablets. Schools and universities right around Australia have jumped headfirst into trials of Apple’s hyped iPad tablet since it launched in Australia in May, as they rush to discover exactly what the device’s use will be in the educational field.