Dell Begins Operation “Phase Out” for the Streak

by Matt Klassen on December 17, 2010

In today’s tech market there are only two reasons to drastically drop the price on a new device: either it’s not profitable and will soon be discontinued, or its successor is set for release. For the Dell Streak, however, it looks like both reasons are conspiring to kill the unpopular hybrid device.

But the truth is, it’s not like we didn’t see this coming. This past summer I wrote a piece covering the release of the Dell Streak, the market’s first tablet/smartphone hybrid device, predicting that such an unusable piece of technology would never gain a hold in either market and would quickly fade from view, and it looks like I was right (for once).

So, what do you buy for the person who has it all this holiday season? Why not a phone that obscures half a person’s face that just happens to also be the market’s smallest—and not to mention most unusable—tablet device, the Dell Streak, now available at Best Buy for the low low price of $99.

There’s a very particular plan that carriers and manufacturers employ when faced with the death of a piece of tech. First, they poor a moderate amount of money into advertising, a last hoorah that lets at least someone out there know that the device is still around. Second, they slash the price yet remain silent on the reason, hoping that naïve consumers will see it as a viable tech choice.

Finally, after about a month or so milking every last dollar out of the device two things will happen simultaneously, the company quietly and discreetly announces the discontinuation of the device while subsequently advertising something new; and with the Streak it certainly look like Dell is following this plan to the letter.

When it was released back in August the Streak was available for a whopping $299 on a two year contract–$499 for just the device–a steep price to pay for a device that was both the market’s biggest smartphone and smallest tablet. Now, just in time for the holidays, Dell has announced that is has slashed that price by a staggering $200, making the Streak now available for only $99.

This all comes after months of disappointing Streak sales, which has left Dell thinking that perhaps creating the market’s first hybrid device wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Further, rumours abound that Dell already has the successor to the Streak in the works–a powerful dual core device– set for release sometime in early 2011, which would mean that this drastic price cut may simply be a final effort to drum up some awareness for the Streak before Dell begins advertising its next generation device.

The truth is, even with the news that the Streak has been upgraded with Froyo, Android 2.2, it still doesn’t change the fact that it is too small to be a tablet, way too big to a smartphone, and lacks the power or functionality of top end devices in either genre.

So while I’ve already said my goodbyes to the Streak, let this be a warning to you, no matter how desperate you are to find a gift for that one person on your list, if you love them, don’t buy them a Dell Streak. If you hate them, however, then you may just have found them the perfect thing.

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sara connors December 17, 2010 at 8:25 am

I have read only good reviews about the Streak. It is ,was it is – but for those consumers who want to only lug a single piece of tech on the road – the Streak is it! So, why so negative, Matt?

Matt Klassen December 17, 2010 at 8:14 pm

While I have yet to read one of those good reviews, to be honest, I’ve never found the Streak to be particularly innovative or useful. As I’ve said in previous articles, the Streak has none of the strengths of either the smartphone or the tablet, but has all the weaknesses of both devices.

If the Streak is really a product consumers want, there’s no way Dell would be slashing the price so drastically in the middle of the best sales season of the year. Simple fact is, no one wants the Streak and Dell is looking to cut its losses.

Jordan Richardson December 17, 2010 at 11:06 pm

If you’ve “yet to read one of those good reviews,” you must not have looked very hard:

CNET lands on calling the Dell Streak “very good” and notes that it offers “an unprecedented combination of processor power, screen size, and design quality.”

Engadget’s thorough review calls the Dell Streak a “large and sexy smartphone that still fits in a pocket” and seems rather happy with it with a few exceptions. gives the Dell Streak four out of a possible five stars:

SlashGear also recommends it:

And even the UK’s Guardian calls it an “excellent device.”

Honestly, you don’t have to look very far to find a good review of the Dell Streak. Is your assessment based on your personal experience with the device, Matt?

steve December 17, 2010 at 11:16 pm

What girl hurt you who works at Dell? I just got the streak after using both the iphone 3g and xperia x10. Its amazing. Now I dont need a netbook and I can watch all my movies in a compact design. I like to carry one gadget when I’m travelling and I’m not going to walk around with a large ipad. The streak does it for me. I seriously dont get where your coming from. Do you work for Apple?

Matt Klassen December 19, 2010 at 12:06 am

If you’ve “yet to read one of those good reviews,” you must not have looked very hard.

You presume too much. I have read all of those reviews, in fact, and mentioned their findings in my original Streak article written back in August:

“Several months ago when Dell unveiled what could be considered the mobile markets first hybrid smartphone/tablet device, the ears of the tech world perked up. In fact, many lauded this strange new device as innovative and revolutionary… but that was then.

Fast forward to today as the Streak is set for its nationwide release, and suddenly the tech world is singing a different tune; more along the lines of, why would anyone want to buy that thing?”

With all of those reviews, save the Guardian, coming before the actual release of the device, they fall under the cateogry of the positive buzz that was generated leading up to the Streak’s release. But as I go on to say, fast forward to today and its a little more difficult to find positive reviews of the Streak (but I’m sure you’ll enjoy trying to find them).

In regards to your comment Steve, while I can’t argue with your personal preference, the fact remains that I struggle to see devices like the Streak really catching on in the market.

While I don’t work for Apple–thank God–and have no ill will towards Dell in particular, the reality is that for many tech consumers the Streak simply doesn’t compare to the high end devices in either the smartphone or tablet genres.

Further, my warning to avoid the deviecs is primarily for those that may think the Streak is the latest and greatest tech gadget this holiday season, cautioning them that either Dell doesn’t think the Streak is worth anything or the computer company has something better in works that they should wait for.

Jordan Richardson December 19, 2010 at 1:04 am

Matt, you told Sara on this very thread that you had yet to see any of the “good reviews” she was talking about for the Dell Streak. I cite many of those reviews and now you’ve suddenly “seen all of the reviews.” I don’t think there’s any presumption at all: there are good reviews of the Dell Streak and you claimed, at first, to not have seen them. At the very least, there’s a misunderstanding.

Then you cite one news article and the opinions of analysts about how well the Streak will do as though that negates the reviews from the major tech sites and as though those reviewers had suddenly “changed their minds.” You place this sentiment at the hands of the “tech world” and suggest that it’s “singing a different tune.” All you’ve really done is side with the handful of analysts cited in the report, who, in turn, have supplanted their own analysis for a “market rejection” of the device. How they’ve arrived at this conclusion is unclear, as the article doesn’t actually cite any evidence. Even the person writing the NY Times “review” says that he hasn’t even tried the thing yet!

What major tech site would review the Dell Streak today, Matt? That’s not how it works; major tech sites don’t suddenly review products that are already out. All major sites worth their salt review products before they’re released to the general public. They do, however, review the updates (ie. Dell Streak Android 2.2).

So there’s Engadget’s review in which they state that the update puts “Dell’s tabletphone back in the game.”

And there’s Know Your Mobile’s assessment in which they say “Android 2.2 on the Dell Streak is a resounding success.”

I’ll ask the same question from my first comment in a different way: what is your experience of the Dell Streak based on?

In terms of companies having “something better” lined up in the future, that’s common practice among all of ’em. Apple doesn’t release the iPad without already having designs on the iPad 2 and the iPad 3 in the hopper. It’s the cycle of tech, a field so couched in planned obsolescence that it’s impossible to recommend any device with a straight face. The so-called “high end devices” that the Streak may or may not compare to fall under the same umbrella, wouldn’t you say?

David December 30, 2010 at 4:36 am

Jordan Richardson’s first comment wrecked your asinine assessment,
then you make a pathetic come back comment,
and then you get completely trounced by Jordan’s counter response.
Maybe Jordan should have your writers position with since you write so pitifully
and can’t make a counter argument worth a damn!

Jordan Richardson December 30, 2010 at 7:59 am

David, I do write for The Telecom Blog, so that’s a start.

I also stand by my comments here, but I think Matt deserves some credit for looking at the other side of the story. From my standpoint, this article is an attempt to showcase another view. With the Dell Streak a perplexing product for many analysts, Matt’s approach isn’t all that different from those he cites in his article.

I also take issue with the notion that Matt writes “pitifully,” as this is a baseless and iniquitous assertion. On the contrary, Matt is a unique, clever writer whose commentary walks lines other moth-eaten bloggers steer clear from.

KV June 1, 2011 at 1:23 am

Have been using the dell streak for the last six months.
I feel that it is an ideal combination of portability and functionality.
The froyo 2.2.2 is great to use.My device is rooted. Love the smooth as silk functionality. I feel that the 1ghz processor is good enough for most of the current requirements. A dual core processor, though, nice to have, is not an imperative need. I do not foresee any “essential” application currently available or likely to be available which needs dual core power and I would much rather watch a 1080p video on a larger screen.

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