Dell Android Tablet Roadmap: Can Looking Glass Compete with the iPad?

I still have my doubts about the viability of Dell’s Mini 5 (Streak) and Mini 7 (Looking Glass) Android tablet devices if their unlocked prices are too high (say $800 as rumored a few months ago). However, if Android Central’s Dell tablet roadmap is correct, Dell certainly has an interesting and varied lineup coming up.

Dell roadmap shows ‘Sparta,’ ‘Athens’ Android netbooks amid smartphones

Note that Dell has an odd fiscal year. Fiscal Year 2011 started in February 2010. So, Q2 FY11 (2nd quarter of fiscal year 2011) starts in May 2010. This is the quarter that the 5-inch 3G+WiFi Streak device is scheduled to launch. The WiFi-only 7-inch Looking Glass model is schedule for a Q3 FY11 (which starts in August).

I think a 7-inch tablet is the perfect size for that device category. As much as I like my iPad, I think it would be easier to carry around a slightly smaller device. Looking Glass’ lack of 3G may get its price under $500. If it can cut significantly under that price (say $350), it might be able to compete with the iPad.

The problem is that the iPad will gain multitasking this fall when the iPhone OS 4.0 update is available for it. This means that Dell and Android’s multasking ability will be less interesting by then. Dell has a very short window to launch their tablet devices and be able to show their advantage (if any) over the iPad.