Dell Streak takes aim at Apple iPad and iPhone

Dell Streak

Is Dell’s Android-based device an oversized smartphone or a mini iPad?

BY Jonathan Harwood LAST UPDATED AT 17:06 ON Wed 26 May 2010

Computer giant Dell is about to enter the smartphone and tablet PC market with the launch of a five-inch, Android-based device called the Streak - which will make its global debut in the UK next month.

Available on the O2 network, it could well undermine the May 28 UK launch of Apple's iPad - and shake up the whole mobile computer scene.

At first blush the Streak would appear to be a cross between an iPhone and iPad. Its screen is half the size of an iPad's but 1.5 inches bigger than that of an iPhone. But some observers believe Dell may have spotted a hole in the market for pocket PCs.

It is primarily designed as a tablet PC and has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G connectivity, meaning it is set up for music, social networking, e-mail and text - but it can also be used to make voice calls.

Like the acclaimed HTC Desire smartphone the Streak - originally called the Mini 5 - uses a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and has storage of up to 32GB. It also sports a 5 megapixel camera and, unlike the iPad, will be able to run Adobe Flash.

More worryingly for Apple, it is yet another rival device running Google's Android OS - which is fast becoming Steve Jobs's nemesis. Google and Apple were once good friends but have fallen out dramatically in recent months - in part because of Google's Android system, which is the main challenger to the iPhone system and which Apple claim infringes its copyrights. Google's decision to allow other manufacturers like Dell and HTC to use its system has also enabled Android to overtake iPhone in sales terms in the US.

Apple could have an even bigger problem on its hands than the rise of Android if it turns out that Dell has stumbled across the perfect mix of smartphone and tablet PC - just as Apple is pinning its hopes on the oversized iPad and the smaller iPhone 4G, which will be launched later this year.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT THE DELL STREAK:

Nigel Kendall, the Times: "The big surprise is the screen. At only five inches, it’s around half the size of that of an iPad, and 1.5 inches bigger than an iPhone screen, yet the difference in watchability is remarkable, perhaps because of the screen’s 16:9 ratio. TV programmes and even feature films feel like less of a compromise than on a smartphone."

iGizmo: "Running the latest version of Android, it multi-tasks, and offers a browsing experience more akin to an iPad than a smartphone. It can even make calls... Question is, does the world need another form factor? Dell certainly seems to think so."

Richard Lai, Engadget: "We found the five-inch form factor to be neither too big nor too small, perfect for browsing the web, watching videos (watch out, Archos 5!), car navigation and reading ebooks on the go." · 

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