Dell on Tuesday announced it would ship its first handheld device, called Streak, in June, but it is also looking to develop devices with larger screen sizes as it tries to establish a foothold in the competitive mobile market.
The Streak has a five-inch screen, and the company is looking at developing handheld devices with larger screen sizes, said John Thode, vice-president of small devices in Dell’s communication solutions group. He said there is room for portable devices with multiple screen sizes as technology develops and new usage models for applications emerge.
Communication technologies like LTE (Long Term Evolution) are developing fast, data plans are becoming cheaper, and consumers are willing to carry more devices, Thode said. Dell wants to create different consumer and enterprise usage scenarios as wireless data transfer rates get faster, he said.
Streak is the first of what could be multiple devices from Dell in the fast-growing mobile space over the next few years, Thode said.
The Streak device — which the company calls a tablet — was developed as a pocket-sized device with a large screen on which content like movies could be viewed, Thode said. Dell executives have described Streak as hitting the “sweet spot” between smartphones and tablets with larger screens.
The device runs Google’s Android OS. It will first be available in the U.K. through retailers Carphone Warehouse and O2 stores. Pricing was not announced and the device will be available in the U.S. later in the summer, according to the company.
This market segment Streak serves was previously occupied by devices called MIDs (mobile Internet devices), which didn’t take off because there wasn’t the right combination of hardware and content, Thode said. Dell hopes to offer the right hardware with Streak, and with Android, hopes not to lock down users into proprietary stores to download applications and content, Thode said.
Streak is Dell’s early entry in a crowded market dominated by Nokia, Apple, Samsung, Research in Motion and others. Sales of the device could partly depend on Dell’s reputation and how carriers place the device.
The Streak comes with a Snapdragon processor, which runs at 1GHz. Over-the-air software upgrades will be available with the device, and users will be able to upgrade to Google’s latest Android 2.2 operating system later this year. The device will also come with a high-resolution 5-megapixel camera, a front-facing camera and 2GB of internal dedicated storage. It also includes an Micro SD slot for expandable storage of up to 32 GB.
device offers 3G connectivity through HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) networks. It also includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.