Here in the United States, if you buy a device without a contract, even if it's on a GSM-based network (like AT&T), it's still going to be locked to the carrier. That's something that's not necessarily a new thing around these parts. Buying it off contract means just that: no contract. However, all over the world, buying a device without the contract tying it down, or lowering its price, usually (sometimes) means that you get it unlocked, and therefore can use it wherever you want, without the trouble of being locked to any one particular carrier. If, for some reason, you were expecting to get that latter deal with the Dell Streak, which goes for $549 san contract, you'll be disappointed.
Dell's Lionel Menchaca has just confirmed that the DELL MID/tablet Android-based device, which is going on pre-order today, will still be SIM-locked to AT&T -- whether you buy it with a contract, or without. So if you want to access some good ol' 3G speeds on AT&T, and you're afraid of dropping almost $600 on a device, then that contract may just be the best way to go about things.
[via TG Daily]