An Open Letter to Dell Regarding Their Undercooked Streak


Dear Dell,

Can I ask you a question? Seriously, I promise it’ll just be between you and me. Here’s what I want to know and, please be honest with me…

What were you thinking?

Seriously Dell, what were you thinking releasing your reentry into the smartphone/tablet market with Android 1.6? How can you take high-end hardware, put old firmware on it and expect people to actually like this device? I mean, you put Android FRIGGIN’ 1.6 on the thing when phones are being released with Android 2.2.

1.6???? That’s just crazy!


I love my iPhone, but I really want to like Android … and I might eventually like it once it is done right and on the right device. After all, your Streak’s hardware is easy on the eyes, although my non-tech-loving wife took one look at the Streak’s hardware and said, “Nice but it’s not Apple.”  The relatively small difference between the sizes of my iPhone and the Streak, shown in the picture above, makes a huge difference when it comes to the screen.


And that’s not all.


Look I’m not big into unboxing experience, but for a high-end phone unboxing the Streak was a low-end experience. It really was underwhelming to open up the box and see the device inside. It was like opening something from…something from… something from… well actually it was like opening something from you. And that alone should have indicated to me that I was going to be disappointed.

Then again, the experience of taking the device out of the box happens only once, while actually using the device happens numerous times every day. Which brings me back to this…

You put freaking Android 1.6 on the Streak. Android 1.6! 1.6 which even makes a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor feel laggy at times. Heck, the Camangi WebStation Judie and I got LAST SPRING had Android 1.5 and since then there been updates including 1.6, 2.0… I mean… it’s now the middle of August 2010 and you shipped with Android 1.6.


I know, I know, you promise to release an update with Android 2.1 or even 2.2 this fall, but it is not this fall yet. It’s August, and I stopped making decisions about technology purchases based on promised firmware updates a long, long time ago. Sure, maybe I would like this phone errrr… tablet…. errrr phablet with a new build of Android (certainly that’s what I’m being told by everyone on the site who likes Android), but here’s the thing… by the time the update is released, it will be too late to return the device. If I like it with 2.1 or 2.2 that will be great, but if I don’t then I have to deal with eBay. So despite the fact that you did a nice job on the hardware, I think this is going back tomorrow. Yes, another attempt for this self-professed Apple fanboy to like Android has rapidly ended.

Just look at this… a comparison of where Android was and where Android is. It is NIGHT and DAY, and you shipped a device that isn’t even about to see the dawn with a vague promise that the sun will rise… some time soon…

Okay, one more bad metaphor and I’m done. Google likes using pastries to talk about their Android updates, so here’s one for you. You baked a cake that looks totally yummy on the outside. It has delicious icing and it looks pretty. But you took it out of the oven too soon. As a result while it looks great, as soon as you stick your fork into it you realize that it is all gooey and uncooked.

Yes, Dell…






Still, I do want to thank you  for one thing: I really like the hardware, and the size of the Streak has proven something to me beyond the shadow of a doubt. And that is this … If Apple releases a 5 or 7″ iPad, I’ll be first in line.

And I owe that knowledge all to you!

Yours truly,


Categories: Editorials

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17 replies

  1. Nice, @geardiary's open letter in contempt for the woeful Android 1.6 laden Streak

  2. rut roh shaggy! RT @GearDiarySite: An Open Letter to Dell Regarding Their Undercooked Streak

  3. RT @GearDiarySite: An Open Letter to Dell Regarding Their Undercooked Streak

  4. @geardiary SERIOUSLY! Nice hardware but ouch! rut roh shaggy! RT @GearDiarySite: An Open Letter to Dell

  5. RT @dmcohen: @geardiary SERIOUSLY! Nice hardware but ouch! rut roh shaggy! RT @GearDiarySite: An Open Letter to Dell

  6. Watching Dan’s experience on Android makes me feel like a guy whose best friend is cheating on his wife and I don’t know how to react to it. Then he realizes it isn’t all worth it and his relationship is saved! Lol. Glad it doesn’t look like a divorce from IOS!

  7. I am amazed at how quickly I have integrated the updates from 2.0->2.1->2.2 into my daily experience with my Droid … when I looked back at 1.6 it looked like using a WiMo phone – half-baked and underperforming!

  8. Now tell us how you really feel Dan….oh wait you did.

    As an abashed Android lover, I have to say: Dell you screwed up and I TOTALLY agree with Dan. Android 1.6? You have GOT to be kidding me!

  9. Oh and on unboxing…why is it that a sleek looking device is nestled in something that looks like….a paper bag.

  10. Tweetdeck's new Beta for Android won't work with Android 1.6. That means no go on Dell Streak

  11. Unboxings are weird things … an Apple product gives certain expectations, much different than say a HP Elitebook business notebook that you expect to be utilitarian and minimalist … or a netbook that you want to be sleek and svelte. My Alienware packaging was a mixture of sexy, other-worldly, and efficient.

    That Dell … ugh!

  12. Completely agree that Dell dropped the ball on this one. Large screen, robust processor…but older OS? I hope Dell updates pronto. I warned a colleague about the Streak only having 1.6 and the uncertain timeframe regarding the updated release, but he got his anyway. I’m curious how satisfied he is with his purchase.

    Though…I’m confused by Dan’s comment where he says “Yes, another attempt for this self-professed Apple fanboy to like Android has rapidly ended” while at the same time implying in his opening statements that Android 2.2 is better than 1.6. That’s sort of like me saying “I want to like Mac OS X (Snow Leopard) but Jaguar sucks!”, basing my opinion of a platform on the limitations of an older version when newer versions are out.

    It sure sounds like Dan is saying “I opened up the box, the nice Dell device had decent hardware (however, his wife wasn’t fond of the ergonomics), but because it has an older version of the OS he doesn’t like that OS and he can’t recommend the device.” Dan, are you saying you don’t like Android because you’re running an older version of a particular piece of hardware? Really? Why exactly don’t you like Android, say 2.2? Would the Streak be better with 2.2 on it as you seem to suggest? How so? These are questions I’d be interested in hearing your take on.

    • Breley-

      I can’t say whether or not I like Android 2.1 or 2.2 because the device wasn’t running it. I sure would like to and wish I had had the option to load the release of Android 2.1 that is floating around but apparently it only loads on European versions.

      This WAS an attempt on my part to try Android again and a big part of me would really like to like it. After all, a lot of people I really respect have great things to say about it. I didn’t say I don’t like Android 2.2 I said that this attempt to like Android ended. “This attempt” however was the Dell Streak running 1.6. And I wasn’t impressed.

      Why? First and foremost my understanding from what I have read and people I have spoken to is that 2.2 is MUCH faster. I did find the Streak somewhat laggy and realized just how laggy it was when I went back to using my iPhone this morning. I do find Android a but less finessed than iOS but don’t know if that is how I feel about Android in general or just how I feel because 1.6 is slow. Maybe with 2.2 running so much faster that sense of clunkiness would diminish or disappear. I can’t say because this was running 1.6.

      Would I like the Streak better if it has 2.2 loaded on it? I suspect so but I DON’T KNOW because it doesn’t have it.

      I WISH I had had the option to load 2.1 or 2.2 on it. Since I liked the hardware that would have let me know things far more clearly. If I liked it, great. And if i didn’t it would have put me in a far better position to conclude that I just don’t have a fondness for Android.

      So “this attempt” ended. Will there be others? You bet. And when I get the right marriage between hardware and OS I’ll be able to make a statement regarding my thoughts on Android. For now I can only speak about my thoughts on the Dell Streal running Android 1.6 which is on the way back to Dell as I type this.

  13. Dan, thanks for the response. I was wondering if you were writing from the perspective of someone curious albeit somewhat unfamiliar with Android but the Dell Streak left you doubtful. Your mentioning of Android 2.2 gave me the impression that you were familiar with it or had used it to some degree, so thanks for clarifying that.

    On a side note, I think it would be really cool if a few of you did a side-by-side comparison of the latest iOS versus the latest Android in terms of varying usability tasks. I’ve seem bits and pieces of small comparisons on differing sites, but I think something like a head to head of things like phone/contact/email use, social apps, productivity, etc. from possibly an out-of-the-box perspective, since that’s how most people’s impression will be formed anyway, right? First impressions and all. How many clicks to compose, send or receive an email? How easy to add a contact? How simple to add a new app?

    As with the Streak, good hardware might not be much help if it takes twice as many click/swipes to drill down to a simple task than a competing operating system.

    • That’s sounds like something that would be fun to do. What I’ld really like to do is have one person (me if possible) do the comparison from the perspective of someone who loves iOS and also have someone who loves Android do the same thing.

      I’ll have to see if we can arrange to do it.

      And yes, the “drilling down” part is one of the key issues and I suspect would remain an issue even if it were faster but until I actually try it I can’t say…

      Curious what phone you are currently using….

  14. I have an AT&T Captivate running Android 2.1 as my main phone. Funny thing is I went in to the AT&T store wanting to get an iPhone, but played around with the Captivate and was, er, captivated. I’m pretty new to Android though, only about a month, having made the jump from years of Windows Mobile, but the hardware+OS match has been very satisfying.


  1. Dell Streak (and Android observations) - Mobility Site