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Oh, Yes, They Call It "The Streak"!

Today, pre-orders began on the Dell Streak for America (it's actually been out in Europe for about two months now).  You can see the cute little bastard on the right here.

For those who don't know, Dell is the first major PC manufacturer to try to take on the 500 lb. gorilla called the Apple iPad.  The Streak is a cell phone/tablet hybrid powered by Android, making it the biggest mass marketed device overtly powered by Linux since the Asus eeePC.

Not only do I not want one, it'll never sell.  This is going to be a massive flop.

What makes me say that?  Well, let's start with the OS.  We are going to pit the proposed specs of the Streak against Kylie, my IBM S10 netbook.  Kylie is running a full-blown Ubuntu Linux distro.  Literally, almost anything I can do on Darwin, my regular desktop computer, I can do on Kylie, including plugging in printers, scanners, whatever.  Part of the appeal of Linux is its adaptability.  Admittedly, Android does have procedure calls that would enable it to work on a regular computer as well as a cell phone.  But it's going to be tricky.  People expecting to do whatever are in for a rude awakening.

The rude awakening won't just be in the limitations of Android versus a regulation Linux distro.  The version of Android running on the Streak is a year old.  Dell says they will offer an over-the-air upgrade to 2.2 "later this year", but no firm date is set.

Next, practicality.  The screen you see there is 5 inches.  That makes it 0.7 inches bigger than the display of the Droid X.  It's bigger than the display on Apple iPhone (3.5"), but the resolution is actually worse.  The only thing it does better than the iPhone is the camera on the back is 5 megapixels, and there is a VGA camera on the front.  The size is a problem.  Try to use it like a phone, and it'll be like holding a paperback book to your face.  (Finally, people with first-gen Nokia N-Gages won't feel so silly.)

Next, price.  Scoring one will cost you $300 with a two-year AT&T contract.  Don't want that?  $550.  That makes it $50 more expensive than the cheapest iPad and $100 more than an iPod Touch.  People who just want a tablet PC can search and find Android tablets for $200 and just use Skype and a wifi signal.  Freescale Semiconductor still has no takers for its design, and it's far more solid and adaptable than the Streak.  People with the cash to burn will have no reason to pass up an iPad for the Streak.  The screen is too big for a smartphone but too small for a tablet.

I look forward to the day when Linux hardware is designed by people who actually know what the fuck they are doing.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
mornblade
Aug. 13th, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)
I shouted out to Ethyl, I says, "Don't look Ethyl!" but it was too late, she'd already signed on to Skype.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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