Memo to Dell Streak: Android 1.6 Is Behind the Times
Can the Dell Streak handheld mobile device catch on with end users? I have my doubts. Not too long ago, I speculated that the Streak would find it difficult to integrate into the real world of mobile devices since its shape, usefulness — and now we know price — could be barriers to acceptance. But the biggest question mark is the Streak’s operating system: It currently runs the antiquated Google Android 1.6 operating system rather than Google’s latest offering. Here’s the update.
When is Android 2.2 support coming? That’s the question on everyone’s mind, including people at Dell. From the get-go, Dell promised 2.2, but it’s no where to be found at this point. Dell’s own Lionel Menchaca, who is chief blogger at Dell, has tweeted about it…
“Honest answer is that it’s complicated. From the info I have, current plan in the US is to go right to Froyo.”
Froyo is the code-name for Android 2.2. Still, the question of ‘when’ is one that hasn’t been answered.
Meanwhile, the Motorola Droid X, HTC Evo and other large-but-not-too-large handsets have entered the Android 2.2 arena and are finding adoption, and what’s more, the price for said devices is right. Comparatively, the Streak is a whopping $550; with AT&T broadband service, the price drops to $300, but that still makes the Streak more expensive than an entry-level iPhone 4. Worse, after paying for the device out of contract, you’re still locked into AT&T. And what are you getting for your money? An outdated device.
Walt Mossberg over at the Wall Street Journal played with the Streak and found it clunky at times, and mildly frustrating to deal with some half-baked software…
But the Streak also crashed on me several times. On one occasion, it started vibrating endlessly, only stopping when I removed and replaced the battery….Twice the device proclaimed it couldn’t find the memory card and had to be restarted before it could. Twice, the YouTube app failed to load any content. Also, the buttons on the top edge for turning the Streak on and off and for taking pictures are very close together and easily confused for each other. And the camera button eventually stopped working for me altogether.
By the time the Streak does get Android 2.2, it could be too late. With so many other large 2.2 Android devices floating around, the Streak won’t be anything special. Plus, Dell hasn’t pushed the device out to any carrier stores. It’s only available via Dell’s website. That means you can’t walk into a AT&T store and try one out, further limiting Dell’s ability to proliferate their device.
In the mad-dash of Android mania, it looks like Dell’s Streak got caught with its pants down.