- In a few days you can plunk down $500 to buy this beauty directly from Dell.
- Or you can spend the same amount and get the Real Thing – the iPad.
- Or you can buy the HTC EVO.
And that’s the problem with the Streak. It’s neither a tablet, nor a phone. Of course not everyone sees that a problem, certainly not Ron Garriques, president, Dell Communication Solutions Group:
The Dell Streak 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.
I wonder if that sweet spot is really sweet… When the iPhone came out, a lot of people started to use it as e-Reader, or even as a computer. But the same people are now happily buying the iPad – to the tune of 1 million units a month, and that’s before international sales would ramp up.
Here’s the big secret: technology improves fast, but the human eye does not (I’d argue our eye-sight only deteriorates). Reading, browsing and performing most interaction with computers is just way too inconvenient on a small screen. The Netbook market provides the analogy: started at 7”, 8.9”, 10” … then it kept on growing until it reached the 12-13” range, at which point it became a non-category, replaced by super-slim laptops.
The iPad is small enough to carry but large enough to be enjoyable: I suspect we will see more larger sisters brothers than smaller ones. I would love a 12” device if it could be kept thin and lightweight. So, while Wired calls the Streak “the first real challenger to the Apple iPad”, I disagree. The Streak is not a tablet.
Is it a phone then? It’s screen is only 0.7” larger than that of the HTC EVO, but that difference may just be too much. The EVO is already a huge jump up from the typical 3.5” smartphone screen, and there is a price to pay for size: it feels just a tad too bulky, even in one’s hands, and is definitely less pocketable. That said, the jump from a 3.5” to 4.3” is a major improvement, enough to redefine what you can comfortably do with your mobile device. But how many times can you repeat that jump? My gut feeling tells me the EVO has reached the upper limit of phone sizes.
Being the “in-betweener” may not be such a good idea – that sweet spot may just prove to be a sinkhole.
Of course I could be proven completely wrong. There are enough geeks to buy this thing just for the pleasure of torturing it.