Dell today detailed its upcoming Dell Streak (Mini 5) Android tablet with some interesting details.
The device will be released initially in the UK on O2 with follow-up rollouts in the US and elsewhere starting later this summer. What's interesting about this device is that it isn't being branded as a 'Smartphone' and may not be sold with voice options, even though it contains 3G hardware for data (and in the video below the demonstrator mentions using it as a phone).
"The Dell Streak hits the sweet spot between traditional smartphones and larger-screen tablets," said Ron Garriques, president, Dell Communication Solutions Group. "Its unique size provides people new ways to enjoy, connect, and navigate their lives."
PR jargon aside, this is a big turning point for devices. If we assume that O2 and whatever US carrier (probably AT&T) carry this device will only charge for data which, using the iPad as a precedent, would be about $30/month. But this device is small enough to fit in pockets and small purses so it can be used as a phone. Even if you have to buy a laptop data plan, it is still less expensive than a smartphone data+voice plan.
That's where this gets tricky. And revolutionary. Google's Voice product (which you can hear Dell endorsing below) will soon integrate Gizmo5 VoIP solutions to become a full featured VoIP phone. With optional 3G data plans from carriers, this becomes a full featured (some would say Google Voice gives you more than full voice features) smartphone.
Or if you only want to use Wifi or a Mifi, you can use this as a phone without its own plan.
You don't even have to wait for Google to release its VoIP product. Currently, Skype doesn't make their application for Android, but other apps like Fring can be used to make Skype or SIP calls on Android devices.
The Streak also has a front-facing camera which could be used to video chat as well. Google has been busy buying up companies that optimize voice and video over IP.
Dell Streak full specs and video below:
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