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Dell kills 7-inch Streak, its last U.S. Android tablet

by Phil Hornshaw

Could this be the end of Dell’s attempts at finding a place in the Android tablet market?

The computer maker has killed the last of its offerings running on Google’s Android mobile operating system, the Streak 7, as it has struggled to compete in a world dominated by the iPad and inundated by Android-running competitors. As PCWorld reports, Dell is acknowledging with a note on its website that the Streak is “no longer available,” after being launched in January. The tablet was the last such product Dell had available in the U.S., after taking the smaller Streak 5 off life support in August. It still has one 10-inch tablet available in China.

Like many other Android tablet makers, Dell’s prospects in the business didn’t seem too sunny. Despite being priced at just $200 with a T-Mobile contract – the same rate as Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet – the Streak 7 struggled to find a good customer base. As PCWorld points out, between January 2011 and October 2011, all Android competitors accounted for just 1.2 million tablet sales, while Apple’s iPad sold 10 million during that same period. The non-iOS market was led by the discontinued HP Touchpad, which received a bargain price cut after HP announced it wouldn’t support the tablet anymore, with 17 percent of market share. Following that was Samsung, with its Galaxy Tab line, with 16 percent.

Amazon is reporting that its Kindle Fire, with the same price as the Dell Streak 7, has sold “millions,” although it hasn’t given any actual figures. The device only went on sale on Nov. 15, but Amazon has thrown a lot behind it, with plenty of advertising on its website and details about the tab’s features. Meanwhile, as TechCrunch points out, Dell did relatively little to promote either the Streak 7 or the Streak 5.

Dell told Engadget that it’s still “committed to mobile devices,” but one has to wonder. The mobile offerings Dell has on the table are getting a little sparse: on Android, it offers the Dell Venue phone. It also has a Windows Phone 7 smartphone, the Dell Venue Pro, and a Windows 7 tablet, the Inspiron Duo Tablet.

So it might not be that Dell is abandoning mobile, but it does seem the company is struggling to find much success on the Android platform. We’ll probably know more next month after the Computer Electronics Show 2011 in Las Vegas, where Dell will likely introduce new big products, if it has any. At that point, we’ll have a firmer idea of what Dell plans to do in the Android market, if anything. But company has always been a computer maker first and foremost, and its small attempt at breaking onto the Android scene could be at an end.