Dell Streak hybrid: Android tablet meets smartphone

Product plate on dell streak

The Dell Streak is a hybrid crossover between an Android tablet and a smartphone that critics say offers mediocre performance in both areas. Flickr photo.

The Dell Streak is billed as a hybrid device — somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet. It’s a device with a 5-inch touch screen running Google’s Android OS. Bigger than an iPhone, yet smaller than an iPad, the Dell Android tablet — or the Dell Android phone — is the latest product from a company that aims to make less expensive imitations of popular products.

Streak: Dell, Android & AT&T

The Dell Streak was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The device is a blend of Dell, Android and AT&T technology. PC World reports that Dell, Android and AT&T  hope to get U.S. consumers to get out their credit cards for a crossover device with a screen bigger than most smartphones but smaller than a netbook — way smaller. The Dell Android smartphone — or Dell Android tablet — has two cameras: a webcam in the front that could potentially be used for videoconferencing and a 5-megapixel camera on the back. It also has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 16GB of built-in memory (expandable to 48GB via MicroSD) and a customized user interface. The Dell Android phone/tablet operates over both Wi-Fi and cellular networks. Dell is partnering with mobile operator Telephonica O2 to launch the Dell Streak in Europe next month and in the U.S. later in the summer with AT&T.

Dell Streak nothing new

Dell formerly referred to The Dell Streak as the Mini-5. Techblog engadget.com previewed the Mini-5,  and after checking out Dell’s smartphone/tablet, it had nothing new to report, except that reviewers managed to get the browser to consistently crash on the Dell Streak the same way it does on the Mini-5. A Dell press release said the 5-inch screen is large enough to present Web pages in their natural form and is “ideal” for thousands of Android widgets, games and applications.

Details on Dell Streak

Dell labels the Streak a tablet but says the Streak hits the “sweet spot” between smartphones and tablets. In striving to hit that sweet spot, the Dell Android phone/tablet seems to be a device with mediocre performance in both areas. In an in-depth look at the device on its official blog, Dell admits the “5-inch diagonal display may seem only slightly larger than many of the smartphones ” and concedes that the Dell Streak is “just a bit heavier than other smartphones.” It defends the Streak by arguing that the additional inch and “higher pixel density” of the screen is the difference-maker, concluding with “it feels solid and balance, -which makes using it pretty natural across a number of activities.”

Dell is also reportedly working on larger, 7- and 10-inch versions of the Streak. The Dell Streak is part of a wider effort by Dell to diversify into non-PC devices. PC World noted that Dell has also announced an Aero Android smartphone that will be available on AT&T’s 3G network.

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