Dell Streak set for Friday release. But is it a tablet or a phone?

Dell Streak is something of a 'tweener' device, some critics are arguing, and that could prove problematic for Dell.

Dell Streak is a big smartphone. Or maybe the Dell Streak is a small tablet, equipped with voice service.

On Friday, Dell will release the Streak, a smartphone/tablet hybrid apparently aimed at folks who think that even the gigantic screen on the Droid X is too small. So how big, exactly, is the Dell Streak? Big. The device ships with a 5-inch touchscreen, which Dell says "is ideal for experiencing thousands of Android Market widgets, games and applications, all without squinting or compromising portability."

For comparison sake, the iPhone 4 is 3.5 inches diagonally. Droid X enjoys a 4.3-inch screen. The iPad is 9.7.

And to be fair to Dell, the Streak, priced at $299.99 with a two-year AT&T contract, is a full-featured machine. The Dell Streak gets a 5-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash in back, a front-facing camera for video chat, the powerful 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 2GB of internal storage, Bluetooth capability and Wi-Fi connectivity. According to Dell, the Streak will ship with the Android 1.6 OS.

But not everyone is convinced that the Dell Streak is going to be a smash success. Over a PC World, Barbara E. Hernandez runs down "five reasons you don't need the Dell Streak." Her list includes the AT&T service, which is pretty notoriously spotty, the "dork factor" – the Streak is far too big to be cool, Hernandez says – and the relatively antiquated Android 1.6 operating system.

But the biggest problem, Hernandez maintains, is that the Streak is essentially a "tweener" device, somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet. "The Streak is only 0.7 inches larger than a Droid 2 or HTC Evo screen," she writes. "Part of the design benefits of the Streak is that users can put it in their pockets, but it must be a pretty roomy pocket. Using an iPad would be less costly and give you almost twice the viewscreen – 5 inches versus 9.7 inches."

Is she right? Read our article about convergence between smartphones and computers, and then drop us a line in the comments section.


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