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Handhelds Android Communications Linux

Hands-On With Dell's Streak Android Device 167

Posted by timothy
from the 5-inch-abs dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Dell Streak, the Android-based 5-inch tablet (which has also been called out as a smartphone) is set to ship starting in July, both from a US carrier and direct on Dell.com for $500. Even though Dell has not disclosed the name of the carrier, some experts believe that it will be AT&T because the Streak is a 3G GSM 850/1900 device and AT&T is the only major US carrier that supports those frequency bands. According to a hands-on, Streak is a sharp-looking device with a black front and candy-apple red back that unfortunately shows fingerprints easily. On the upside, Streak's curved body is comfortable to hold. Streak runs a customized version of Android 1.6, but Android aficionados will have to get used to the unusual button layout. Its 800x480-pixel screen makes images look tight, and web pages will benefit from the horizontal resolution. The 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the same as in the HTC Incredible and Sprint EVO 4G, functions snappily. There's a 5-megapixel camera on the back, a VGA camera for video calling on the front, and a MicroSD memory card slot under the back cover."
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Hands-On With Dell's Streak Android Device

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:55PM (#32465532)

    Come on - how can anyone sell an Android 1.6 device with a straight face in this day and age?

    No wonder it's going to AT&T. AT&T hates Android and so far has only carried the worst and most crippled Android devices on the market.

  • by PaulBu (473180) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:59PM (#32465566) Homepage

    ... while this "expert" have even seen a SIM card with AT&T logo on one of the photos in slideshow! :)

    Paul B.

  • Bad Form Factor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HandleMyBidness (848635) on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:09PM (#32465646)

    The picture in that article makes me think this is the exact wrong size for every use it's designed for, especially as a phone.

  • Just what we need (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:11PM (#32465666)

    A phone with a pathetic screen resolution on a pathetic carrier with a dog-old version of Android.

    I mean, I want an Android tablet, but I'm simply not settling for this.

  • by TheKidWho (705796) on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:13PM (#32465678)

    There is no such thing as an Android Tablet. Google doesn't officially make an OS for tablets yet, they're holding off on ChromeOS for that. These are just hackjobs by manufacturers trying to get in on the iPad hype.

  • by Threni (635302) on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:18PM (#32465702)

    > There is no such thing as an Android Tablet. Google doesn't officially make an OS for tablets yet,

    If someone puts Android on a tablet then at that point you can say that Google officially makes an OS for tablets. What Google intends to do, or where it expects an OS to run is neither here nor there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:20PM (#32465712)

    What are the earmarks of a true tablet? Is it size? I think a 5-inch screen is too small to be called a tablet. It's large enough to watch movies and fill the Android interface with app icons, but you still have to type with your thumbs. In my opinion, tablets are supposed to fill in for laptops when you don't want the bulk of a screen and physical keyboard. The iPad fits that model.

    I look at it another way: The iPad is so big that it doesn't fit in my pocket, so I need to carry it in a case, so I may as well carry a laptop and get a proper keyboard and the myriad of missing iPad features that we've all been over. And I still have to carry a phone, too.

    I don't know about the Streak yet, but it does seem to me that it would still be pocket-sized and would give me a larger screen than my phone. For someone who needs a phone, but uses it more for texting and surfing, it could be very suitable.

  • May as well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:00PM (#32465940)

    The iPad is so big that it doesn't fit in my pocket, so I need to carry it in a case, so I may as well carry a laptop

    That's where you lost me.

    Because a laptop doesn't need a case. It needs a bags, with accessories and so on.

    The iPad has long enough battery life you don't need to pack power cords "just in case", and really have nothing else to bring with it. It's still much more portable than a laptop and easier to drag around an office or into meetings.

  • by Quarters (18322) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:17PM (#32466054)
    You've got it completely backwards. Google has said on numerous occasions that ChromeOS is for netbooks. They are pushing Android as their tablet OS.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:21PM (#32466076) Journal

    It's too large for a phone, but too small for a tablet. I don't know what niche it's supposed to take, because I don't see any I'd want to use it in.

    Given that there are much more compelling Android offerings both in phone and in tablet space, I don't see why anyone would bother.

  • by Nemilar (173603) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:23PM (#32466090) Homepage

    I've seen a few devices of this size (the Archos 7 comes to mind; and I've seen them on the internet, not in person, mind you) and I think it's interesting to watch the industry try to figure out the correct form factor for this new niche that is emerging. Obviously it is going to be something larger than a cellphone and smaller than a laptop -- but what, exactly?

    This Dell Streak, I think, is the exact wrong size. It's quite a bit larger than a phone, and it doesn't look like something that you want to carry around all day in your pant pocket. One of the reason cellphones have become so popular is because they are so small (and light-weight). Remember that for several years, the major thing about cellphones is that they were getting smaller and smaller? Compare a phone from, say, 2000, with a phone from today. Why would anyone want to reverse direction on that? It's too large for a phone.

    On the opposite end, it looks too small to do any actual work. A netbook-sized screen is good for emails and browsing, but it's not very useful for doing serious business. And this thing is much smaller than a netbook. I don't think that's the aim, of course -- I think it's more aimed to the niche that the iPod targets; gaming, "always-on" style internet access, etc.. But I have to wonder if the device is too small for these things, as well. I think it might very well be.

    But the overwhelming thing we seem to be seeing is that there are plethora of devices being released, each being in some significant way different from the next; companies are trying to find out what consumers want in a device like this. Maybe Apple has proven it with the iPad, given its popularity; they did that with the iPod, and now the market is full of MP3 players which are essentially iPod clones. But remember when MP3 players were first coming to market, there were many different form factors, many different storage devices (Sony had that thing with the mini CDs, for example), until it became clear what consumers want. The same thing should/will happen here; and I believe it's quite possible it's already happened with the iPad, and anyone making anything substantially different will wind up falling behind.

  • by darjen (879890) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:44PM (#32466216)

    yeah, I would definitely wait before it actually has 2.2 installed before actually pulling the trigger. promises alone aren't enough for me to spend $500 on any device.

  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:56PM (#32466282) Homepage Journal

    AT&T hates Android

    You trollin' foo. ATT and Google, the two most infamous data-mining corporations, hate each other like Bush hates rich Arabs.

    Being in a relationship, [marketobservation.com] after all, means never having to say you're Saudi.

  • Ok then (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Boarder2 (185337) on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:09PM (#32466338) Homepage

    Looks ugly.
    Old customized version of Android. (have to wait for Dell to update it)
    Too big to comfortably fit in your pocket.
    Too small to use for an extended period of time.

    And people wonder why Apple is doing well.

  • Re:May as well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ixokai (443555) on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:52PM (#32466522)

    Define "10 hour battery life" for me-- is that claimed, or based on "moderate usage", or? And how moderate is moderate, if that's it?

    Because I've never seen a laptop which got anywhere near the claimed battery life with what I consider "moderate" usage... and most die out from 2 to 4 hours of continual usage. Let alone if you're doing something intense, i.e. watching a video. I may be wrong: I've never used a netbook, and maybe these netbook makers finally managed (since I stopped using laptops a few years ago) to get battery life to actually useful levels.

    The iPad's 10 hour battery life is 10 full hours of real continual usage. Really, its like 11 hours of real work if you aren't on the 3G the whole time and aren't streaming over WIFI, but about 10 even if you are. And about 9 if you're on the 3G. Even if you're spending all that time doing intense stuff, like watching a video. Or playing games.

    It does make a difference in the usability of the device.

  • by Blue Stone (582566) on Friday June 04, 2010 @10:57PM (#32466554) Homepage Journal

    What's the difference between a tablet and a netbook apart from a physical keyboard? Why do they need completely different operating systems?

    Never having used either of these OSs, my impression of Android is pretty favourable - it's like a open iPhone OS - whereas my impression of Chrome is that it's some ridiculous attempt to enable a vision of cloud computing (using Google's services) and pushing that service-as-a-platform idea down people's throats, than having a good operating system that is principally about doing what people want their device to do and doing it well.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday June 04, 2010 @11:29PM (#32466690)

    I'm also curious why people are attracted to Android.

    Apps.

  • by Urza9814 (883915) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @12:29AM (#32466890)

    I guess "Release early, release often" is not a proper strategy here. I suspect Google managers are simply not mature enough (too young, in other words) to understand the business needs and do what is right.

    I disagree. I mean in a year or two I would imagine that development will naturally slow down a bit. But their options right now are to either release frequently and have some fragmentation, or release rarely and have people stuck on very old releases that don't have the features they want. Remember all the complaints about how long it took Apple to get MMS on the iPhone? Besides, as far as Google is concerned, implementing the latest version isn't really their problem.

  • by icebike (68054) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @12:37AM (#32466920)

    Bluetooth is holding down the Geek factor? lol

    Sadly, bluetooth is becoming commonplace. Hands free driving laws pretty much mandate the technology. Maybe not in rural Iowa, but common enough everywhere else.

    Nobody is going to want to hold a slab the size of this phone to their head for very long.

  • by tftp (111690) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @12:49AM (#32466964) Homepage

    Releasing a product in commercial space requires stability. Sure, you can't have everything in the release 1.0, but every release must be a solid product. If you look back, each DOS release was fine; most Windows releases were OK (as Windows goes,) and IIRC even OS/2 releases were reasonably mature.

    The major point here is to avoid the upgrade treadmill. I can understand frequent upgrades if they are seamless. But in Android they are not. Each OEM has to customize a base Android system to their hardware, and a handheld thing can have 10-20 different hardware items to worry about - the CPU itself, the display controller, the touch controller, the battery charge controller, WiFi, Ethernet, BT, compass, GPS... so it's a lot of work to the OEM to upgrade from 1.x to 1.(x+1). If you make them do it often they just say "stuff it, we won't be upgrading anything" and then you are stuck. In my work I occasionally have to upgrade frameworks. Qt offers a great example, especially when 3.x to 4.x transition changed *everything* and required rewrite of major pieces of code. Such an upgrade is often out of consideration even - the library pieces then get checked in along with your sources, and that's that.

    So IMO regardless of what Google wants to do, what they are doing is not working. Google people just don't understand what their releases are doing to the industry. Imagine yourself an OEM that plans a gizmo. If you pick Android you start development one day and never end, until the product is EOLed. That is hardly a winning strategy. If I were such an OEM I'd rather pick a no-name OS that at least allows me to build a product and let it be. If my product doesn't report its OS version I'm OK. If my product reports that it's Android x.y then it's already bad news - there is already a newer release by Google, and who will buy my gizmo then? Business-wise, Google is on a losing path here.

    Besides, as far as Google is concerned, implementing the latest version isn't really their problem.

    I'm afraid you are right and Googlers indeed harbor that foolish idea. But that very fact *is* their problem. They have enough cash to play ostrich for a few years, but the reality couldn't care less about what Google thinks. Reality deals with things that exist.

  • FAIL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uvajed_ekil (914487) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @01:10AM (#32467034)
    Hate to do this, but:
    1. Too big to be a good phone, too small and slow to be anything else.
    2. Resolution is no good for a "tablet."
    3. AT&T blows.
    4. Many people still hate touch-screen keyboards.
    5. Android 1.6. Are you serious? No, really. You are serious? Oh. Wow. And it's a non-standard version. M'kay.

    Haven't seen one yet, don't need to. The Streak will be another big brown streak for AT&T and Dell. FAIL
  • Re:May as well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @03:04AM (#32467384)

    Bag, case, whatever. Let's abstract this down to what the problem is: The iPad means I still have to use a hand to carry it, whether holding it, having it under my arm, in a bag, case, whatever. It's the same problem in that sense as a laptop.

    You are seriously stretching the similarity here. The iPad is significantly more portable than a notebook (even a thin 13" notebook, like a MacBook Pro). Even if you ignore the process of disconnecting the cords and putting it into a bag or sleeve as well as carrying any accessories (like power adapter), and just focus on transporting it, the experience is not even remotely comperable.

    The only notebooks I would consider anything close to similar to carrying an iPad is either a MacBook Air, or one of the thinner netbooks.

    The differences are then down to weight. I can carry my laptop just fine. In the bag. With a power charger. So weight isn't a problem.

    Except then you're now toting a bag around. Having commuted with notebooks, netbooks, iPads, and iPhones, I can tell you there's a very noticeable difference between each of them. The difference between an iPhone and an iPad is comparable in magnitude to the difference between an iPad and a small (13") notebook.

  • Re:Why Android? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by beguyld (732494) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @03:12AM (#32467398)

    That said, you'll never break into a larger screen size using only a virtual keyboard. Anyone who'll buy the oversized phone will require the real keyboard for more computer like functionality, like writing emails.

    Yeah, the iPad hasn't sold at all...

    There seem to be two camps. One who is happy with the 95% of what the iPad can do. And the other who is all pissed off that it isn't a full laptop. Maybe this is a new device category? (and there are ways to use a keyboard with an iPad, when needed; and that should work for similar Android/otherOS tablets as well)

  • by theridersofrohan (241712) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @06:29AM (#32467836) Homepage

    I wonder where's that article about android fragmentation [slashdot.org] now? I remember comments claiming that talk of fragmentation is FUD! [slashdot.org]. How can you come up with an android 1.6 device in June 2010?

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