Amazon, Dell offer more gadgets

by Eric Benderoff

Dell (DELL) will start selling its first Android phone this week, while Amazon (AMZN) is looking to hire workers for its gadget lab. Also in today's App Industry Roundup, we have our suspicions as to why iPhone owners have more sex than Android buyers.

Dell Streak available Thursday

Apparently, the successful launch of new hardware products from Apple (APPL) and Google's (GOOG) Android push have started a serious trickle down impact in the consumer gadget marketplace. Computer maker Dell is launching its first new phone this week, while Amazon is considering the development of hardware beyond the successful Kindle.

The much-discussed Dell Streak, an Android-based phone, will go on sale at AT&T (T) stores and online for a steep $300 on Thursday. A contract-free version of the phone will sell for $549, if buying an unlocked phone is your thing. That's a lot of money for a phone from a new provider, even if it does have a whopping 5-inch screen. Worse, it runs on Android version 1.6, a tough sell when a more established provider of Android phones -- Motorola (MOT) -- is launching sales for the Droid 2 Thursday, which features the Android 2.2 OS.

(If there's a big problem for Google's Android OS, it's this crazy update release schedule. With smartphone operating systems more similar to computer programs, why can't each hardware maker offer upgrades at the same time? The fact that a new product is introduced with an operating system a nearly a year old boggles my mind.)

Dell will introduce more smartphones and even tablets later this year, as well.

Amazon, meanwhile, must feel emboldened by the success of the Kindle eReader. According to this New York Times item, Amazon is looking to hire for it's Lab126 division, which creates the Kindle. The division has 80 openings, according to the story.

A person familiar with the matter said that "building more hardware products would be a means to an end," for Amazon. "This person said Amazon wants to make more devices for consumers that would enable simple purchasing of Amazon content including its digital booksmusic and movie rentals and purchases." What might Amazon be making? A phone is not out of the possibility, the story notes.

FYI: The $139 Kindle Wi-Fi, which I've ordered, is now on back-order and will not ship until mid-September. The $189 3G + Wi-Fi model is still scheduled to ship on Aug. 20.

iPhone users and sex

Perhaps everyone is moving into the hardware business because it leads to ancillary benefits. While combing through an online dating survey from OKCupid.com, an intrepid Time reporter uncovered the following gem: iPhone users have more sex than owners of other smartphones.

From the report: "Male iPhone users have had an average of 10 sexual partners by age 30, while BlackBerry users have had 8.1. What's worse? Those poor losers with Androids have only had 6. The best news may be for female iPhone users who have an average of 12.3 sexual partners by age 30, as compared with 8.8 for BlackBerry users and 6.1 for Android users."

There you go; good information to have if you have ever wondered how hardware choices impact your personal life. AT&T may be worth the hassle.

Android's sex problem

Perhaps it would be easier for Android owners to get lucky if they didn't embrace promotions like this special edition R2D2 Droid phone. I'm just saying.