Online sales of Dell Streak could begin Wednesday

Blogosphere rife with reports that five-inch tablet will run on AT&T network and be available tomorrow

Online sales of the Dell Streak wireless tablet, with a five-inch screen that many say makes it look like an Android smartphone, could begin as soon as tomorrow, according to online speculation.

The device will operate on the AT&T network, according to recent Dell Web posts.

Some bloggers have been following a constantly changing Dell Web site that at one point today indicated that online sales would begin on Wednesday. Other sites, including AndroidPolice , have indicated that online Dell Streak sales would begin on Friday, a day earlier than the "end of July" deadline set by the vendor.

Dell and AT&T declined comment on sales plans, but Chief Dell Blogger Lionel Menchaca posted a note late Monday that drew attention to an online pre-sale that was some bloggers had reported was discontinued on Tuesday, then restarted later in the day.

Menchaca's blog also confirmed that the device will not work with T-Mobile USA's network. Thus the logical choice is the only other U.S. carrier with GSM coverage -- AT&T. Dell revealed in May that the Streak would include a GSM radio.

Initially, he said, it will ship with Android 1.6. An over-the-air update to Android 2.2 (also known as Froyo) will come later in the year, Menchaca added.

Finally, he said the device will initially be offered in carbon black. A cherry red device will be available at a later time.

The Dell Streak was first available in early June in the UK priced at 149 British pounds (currently about $231 U.S.). That version runs on Telefonica O2 UK's wireless network starting at about 25 pounds a month (currently $39 U.S.) under a two year contract.

02 has published the weight as 220 grams, or about 7.8 ounces, and the size as 153 x 79 x 10 mm or 6 x 3.1 x .4 inches.

Pricing for the U.S. version has not been announced.

The Streak, first described by Dell at CES in January and then formally unveiled in May, drew concerns from some observers because its screen is only half as large as that of the rival Apple iPad tablet. Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner, said the Streak sounded like a Mobile Internet Device, which Intel Corp. promoted before it fell flat.

But Dell's Menchaca said the pre-sales for the Streak indicated "there's a lot of you out there in the United States and beyond who are excited about the device. You've made Dell Streak the most successful pre-sale we've ever offered. In my 16 years at Dell, I've not seen (or heard) this level of buzz around a Dell product."

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Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
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