The Dell Streak is now available at Dell.com, enabling consumers in the United States to get on board with the smartphone-meets-tablet device that O2 customers in the United Kingdom have been enjoying since early June.<
The Streak, which became available for pre-sale Aug. 12, is priced at $550, or $300 with a two-year service contract from AT&T. It runs Google's Android 1.6 operating system, supports UMTS, GSM/EDGE and HSDPA/HSUPA networks, and includes WLAN 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity. SMS, MMS, Email and Web browsing are all supported, and there's a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera in addition to a front-facing VGA camera.
On the same day as the Streak's launch, Dell also opened a Mobile Applications Store, maintained and operated by PocketGear. It includes apps for the Streak, as well as for BlackBerry devices and others running Andorid, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Palm OS.
Judging by the store's tag line - "Over 50,000 ways to make your phone better" -Dell customers now have tens of thousands of options to choose from.
The Dell Streak of course also features a 5-inch TFT LCD multi-touch display, with a resolution of 800 by 480 and made of super-strong Gorilla Glass. While the display size, well larger than any smartphone competitors', makes for great video viewing, it has also led to some confusion. Is the Streak a smartphone or a tablet?
Analysts have suggested that the Streak's position between the two markets is intentional, and that Dell considers it a "hybrid" device - ideal for tablet or netbook fans wanting a screen larger than a smartphone's, as well as for smartphone users wanting something they can slip into a purse or (large) pocket.
"The Dell Streak has found a way to fit your whole world in a 5-inch screen. Its unique size will help people discover new ways to enjoy the Web, connect with friends, and navigate their lives," Ron Garriques, president of Dell Communication Solutions, offered in an Aug. 10 statement.
The Streak measures 6 by 3.1 by 0.4 inches and weighs 7.7 ounces - a bit of heft, compared to most phones, that "might make a difference when you're trying to slip it into the pocket of your shorts," Technology Business Research (TBR) Analyst Ken Hyers told eWEEK.
Ultimately, however, it's the Streak price tag - which again straddles the smartphone and tablet worlds - that may determine its success. At $300, with the AT&T contract, it's $100 more than many popular handsets available today, such as the Motorola Droid 2 and the BlackBerry Torch. (The 32GB iPhone 4 is an exception at $300.) The Streak features both cellular and data service, unlike the Apple iPad - which, with its 9.7-inch display, starts at $500 - potentially positing it, while on the small side, as a bit of a bargain.
Analyst Neil Mawston, with Strategy Analytics, suggested that AT&T, in determining the subsidy to offer for the Streak, may have been acting cautiously, considering that it's an unusual form factor.
"The retail pricing for the Dell Streak superphone is toward the top end of our expectations," Mawston told eWEEK.
Still, added TBR's Hyers, in coming weeks or months, the price may well drop, positioning it more aggressively amongst smartphones.