May 28, 2010, 10:39 AM — Is the Android-powered Dell Streak, coming this summer, a tablet or a smartphone? The answer depends on who you ask.
Blurring the lines even further, it also has a GSM radio for making calls, something not often seen in tablets and certainly not in the iPad.
While it's basically a large pocket-size device, the Streak is small enough to hold up to your ear to make a call, or it can be connected to a wired or wireless headset.
Dell actually hasn't officially announced the dimensions of the full device, just the size of the screen, says Dell spokesman Matthew Parretta. "It doesn't look goofy holding it up to your head to talk," he said, noting he's been using the Streak for eight months as a phone and tablet and loves it.
Dell calls the Streak a tablet and not something else, because it's expected to be used as primarily a data-centric device, Parretta said.
In full landscape mode, a user can download Web pages and see them in full width, rather than having to move back and forth like one would with a smartphone. Moreover, the Streak can be used as a GPS device with Google Maps and Google Voice, he said.
But Dell executives have also recognized that the Streak falls between a smartphone and a tablet. Ron Garriques, president of the Dell Communication Solutions Group, said in a statement that the device "hits the sweet spot between traditional smartphones and larger-screen tablets. Its unique size provides people new ways to enjoy, connect and navigate their lives."
Other Dell representatives have described what the Streak is in a blog post and a video. "It is in a class of device that fits between a smartphone and a full netbook or notebook," said Kevin Andrew, who is on the Streak's development team, in the video.
What's in a name, anyway?
Why does it matter whether you call the Streak a smartphone or a tablet? It probably doesn't matter that much, except that something with a little of both is hard for some people to digest, including analysts such as Gartner Inc.'s Ken Dulaney.