For Dell's Streak, price and design could be crucial, analysts say

One analyst says the 5-in. tablet/smartphone will be a showcase for Dell, which is best known for selling PCs

Dell said on Tuesday that its 5-in. Streak tablet will ship this Friday for $300 with a two-year AT&T contract.

Dell Streak
Dell's 5-in. Streak tablet fits in a somewhat untested product category between a smartphone and tablet.

Its arrival comes after delays that had infuriated potential customers. But even if early adopters forgive Dell for a release snafu, its price seems high to some.

And there's the lingering question of whether it is really more of an Android smartphone, because its 5-in. screen is nearly half the screen size of the fast-selling Apple iPad.

Some have also expressed worries about Streak functioning poorly over AT&T's network in the U.S., following concerns about the iPhone's AT&T service.

The Streak already sells in Britain, and Dell has ruled out using T-Mobile, the other major U.S. GSM carrier, to the dismay of some customers.

Potential customers are also concerned that Streak will ship with Android 1.6, with an over-the-air upgrade to v2.2 later in the year, even though v2.2 is already available on smartphones like the original Droid and with new the new Droid 2 this week.

Dell mentioned the upgrade for the Streak in a blog post yesterday, along with purchase details for customers who registered for a presale.

Presale customers will have the ability to first order a Streak on Thursday, Aug. 12, and online sales will be available to the general public on Friday.

The release at one point was going to be before the end of July, upsetting some customers.

One potential buyer addressed the delays, the price and the choice of AT&T over T-Mobile in one succinct comment on the Dell Community page yesterday.

"JsARCLIGHT" wrote after the announcement: "Count me in the camp who scratched the Streak off my buy list a while back. I kept coming here hoping the price would be lower, the Android version would be higher and the T-Mobile option would be reopened. None of those things happened."

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