Dell Streak, Android-thing: tiny-tablet or super-smartphone?

By Richi Jennings. June 3, 2010.

Dell has launched its new 5" Android device, called Streak (née Mini 5). But what is it: a small tablet or a big smartphone? In IT Blogwatch, bloggers try to pigeonhole.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Error'd...


    Priya Ganapati calls it a "real alternative" for "iPad holdouts":

Dell’s first tablet, the ‘Streak’ aka ‘Mini 5? is set to go on sale towards the end of next month ... unlocked through Dell’s website and will cost $500 –the same price as an entry level iPad.


The Streak has a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen, a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera, a front facing camera ... 3G and Wi-Fi ... a Micro SD slot. ... It will run Google’s Android operating system. ... You could use it to make phone calls, as long as you don’t feel awkward holding an electronic slab to your ear.

Ina Fried sounds like she has cross-pond jealousy:

The Streak goes on sale this weekend in Europe. ... Unsubsidized, the device will sell for around $500 via, although [Dell] said the preferred model is to sell ... through wireless carriers. ... In the U.K. ... the Streak will be free with a monthly mobile broadband contract, or ...[$540*].


The Android-powered gadget is bigger than any smartphone but smaller than nearly all other tablets. ... Dell executive Ron Garriques positioned the device as the largest screen that would still fit in a man's shirt pocket.

Spencer Dalziel has UK subsidized prices:

The Iphone-baiting Streak will be free on a [$30*] a month contract with mobile broadband ... [or $44*] with voice and unlimited data.


On paper, Dell's Streak looks like an interesting proposition. ... What the Streak will also give punters is support for ... Flash 10.1. Now, who hasn't got that?

Dan Grabham grabs a review unit:

The Streak will certainly appeal to those who like the iPhone or an Android handset but want something bigger - but not an iPad. Dell is clearly hoping to fill a gap between iPad-alike devices and the smartphones we already have. ...

Although we were playing around with a pre-production sample, the interface is as snappy as an iPad's.


The unit is sturdy ... the display is super-tough. The glass is Gorilla Glass - an extremely robust thin sheet glass. ... there's also an impressive speaker on the back. We played a high quality YouTube video ... and, as well as a very impressive picture, ... [there was] little of the tinny sound you can hear on the iPhone. ... There is a stand available with HDMI out.

Ian Scales calls it a "phablet" and likes it:

A big screen (5 inches) for some users might be a real bonus. ... So turn-by-turn navigation, watching movies and (in particular) native web browsing might simply become a better experience. ... The ability to develop lots of different 'form-factors' is the whole point of Android ... not a weakness, or a sign of confusion.
I've long bemoaned the cult of the ridiculously small in phones. Just because you can make the things smaller doesn't mean you should. ... As the data services become the prime use, the screen becomes the overriding feature.

But Nick Saint clearly doesn't:
We still don't see the appeal of this, especially not for $500. ... After seeing it in action ... we're as puzzled as ever. ... Is anyone really willing to carry an object this big all the time ... as a phone replacement?
The only niche we can think of for this device is dumbphone users who want a truly portable Internet device ... but not quite often enough to upgrade to a smartphone.
What are we missing?

*- UK prices converted to pre-tax US Dollar equivalents: the convention in Europe is to quote retail prices including sales tax (VAT).

And Finally...
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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

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