Been waiting to get your hands on Dell’s 5 inch Android tablet? The wait is almost over… if you happen to live in the UK. We already knew the Dell Streak was due out in the UK in June. Now wireless carrier 02 UK has announced that they’ll start shipping the Dell Streak on June 4th.
The handheld tablet features a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and a 5 inch, 800 x 480 pixel display. It will run Google Android 1.6 with a custom user interface designed by Dell at launch, although the company plans to offer an Android 2.2 Froyo update later this year.
The Dell Streak actually has a lot more in common with a smartphone than it does with larger tablets like the iPad. It features Wifi, Bluetooth and 3G connectivity as well as GPS. And unlike most tablets, you can actually make phone calls on the Dell Streak. In fact, you could probably get away with replacing your phone with the tablet if you don’t mind holding a 5 inch device up to your ear to talk — or using a Bluetooth headset.
The O2 web site also provides some detailed specs including the weight, dimensions, and supported media formats. Those would be 0.49 pounds, 6″ x 3.1″ X 0.4″ and H.263/H.264, 3GP, MPEG4, and WMV, by the way.
i suspect we wont see the rumored wifi only variant until after the froyo update have been released as only 2.1 and later makes phone a optional capability.
Today, phone calls are just one way to use the “smart phone” device, along with text, music, video, Internet access, navigation, and so on. Sizing the device so it can perform all the tasks well is essential. Those 240 x 360 cell phone screens make for a poor browsing/navi/video viewing experience. The 480×800 screen is closer to acceptable. It remains to be seen if people prefer a 5 inch screen, like the Dell Streak, or a 4.3 inch screen like the HTC Evo 4G, or the 3.7 inch screen of the Nexus One and Droid Incredible.
It will be interesting to see if Apple releases an XL version of the iPhone. A 480×800 resolution screen is big enough to run two standard iPhone apps side by side, and iPhone OS 4.0 supports multitasking. Hmmmm.
Umm, to me this is a phone. It’s got a screen that’s a half inch larger than the upcoming HTC Evo, and roughly the same feature stack. It’s very phone esq.
I originally pictured tablets competing with phones. Once you stick in a wireless modem onto a tablet, it has everything you need really, to make and recieve either VoIP, or just regular phone calls assuming you have bluetooth. All it would really require is software to enable the feature.
At the end of the day I only want to carry around one device for content consumption. I don’t want a separate phone, ebook reader, tablet, iPod, etc. I want one device. I don’t care if that device is somewhat big if I don’t really have to interact with it to recieve calls. I already have a bluetooth headset in my ear a lot of the time anyway, and it can accept calls with the button on it even if my phone is in my backpack or in my pocket.
Once you get rid of the mental need to hold the device to your ear, the concept of what is and isn’t a phone becomes very elastic. At that point, a device with a larger screen, that is fairly light and convinent and allows me to do most of what I need to do on the move, and can provide a useful experience where I’m captured in a seat for 30 minutes at a time (on the bus or waiting for one), or standing in a relatively long line, becomes ideal.
I could be completely off base, but this goes back to the what is a netbook/MID/laptop arguments. I see tablets replacing a lot of these niche devices… Even netbooks to a moderate extent assuming you don’t need to take notes or what not… And if it accepts bluetooth there’s no reason you couldn’t use a pocket keyboard. I have one, and it’s just as comfortable to type on as my Wife’s 1005H… But it’s one more thing to carry.
We’ll see how things shape up in the future. But I’d be shocked if we still have such a proliferation of niche mobile computing devices in the future instead of slightly larger, more powerful, and general ones we take everywhere with us.
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