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8/11/2010
12:16 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Dell Streak Carves Niche Between Tablet And Smartphone

Dell is launching its Android powered Streak this week on the AT&T network. The screen size is five inches, which makes it larger than a smartphone but smaller than a full tablet. Is there room in the market for this device?

Dell is launching its Android powered Streak this week on the AT&T network. The screen size is five inches, which makes it larger than a smartphone but smaller than a full tablet. Is there room in the market for this device?HTC may have the largest smartphone screen currently on the market at 4.3 inches in phones like the Evo 4G on Sprint's network or the HD2 that runs Windows Mobile 6.5. By comparison, the iPhone 4 has a 3.5" screen, diminutive by comparison. At five inches though, the Streak has them all beat. Dell doesn't call the device a smartphone, but rather a tablet.

The most widely known tablet is the Apple iPad, and its 9.7 inch screen dwarfs the Streak. That puts the streak in an odd place.

When you read the press release on the device, Dell understandably puts the info about voice calls at the very end of the touted features. This isn't the device for someone that is looking for a svelte device to tuck in their pocket.

That said, it will fit in your pocket, something the iPad won't do unless you are Andre the Giant. Devices like this always find a loyal and dedicated following. To many, it is the best of both worlds. You get tablet functionality in the footprint of a large smartphone and the features of a smartphone in your tablet. You can at least hold the Streak to your head to take a call, , something you cannot do with the iPad, antenna attenuation notwithstanding.

The question is, will it find a following with mainstream users?

On a technical note, according to Boy Genius Report, the Streak will ship with Android 1.6, which is really old. Dell will upgrade users to 2.2 before the end of the year, but you have to wonder why they didn't push to get 2.x on the device before it ships.

One last thing. Am I the only one that hears Ray Stevens' "The Streak" run through their head when they read about the device? Well, if I was, I'm not now.

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