Yes, they call it the Streak

The iPad stirred the marketplace when it was released causing renewed interest in that sector of computers. Three months ago, Dell released details on the upcoming launch of the Streak which, according to Dell, will compete with the iPad. A problem for the Streak seems to be whether it should be considered a big smart phone or a small tablet?

The Apple iPad clearly fills the niche between the iPod/iPhone and the Mac for the Apple faithful. It is a tablet with no phone capability whatsoever although it runs the iPhone mobile operating system rather than a traditional operating system and its hardware is much closer to a Smartphone than a netbook.

The Streak has all the capability of a Smartphone with a whopping five-inch touchscreen. Featuring Qualcomm's 1-GHz Snapdragon Processor and two Gigabytes of internal storage, the Streak will connect using cellular 3G or with 802.11b/g wireless if detected nearby.

When released, the Streak will be running an older version of the Android operating system, but users will be able to freely download the newer version when it becomes available later this year. That's important for anyone who expects to surf the Internet and consume flash video. The older Android version does not support flash, the newer version does. While that may be cause for thought, consider that the open-source Android operating system is becoming widely supported with apps from multiple markets.

Dell plans to offer a wide array of applications and, because the Streak is Android-based, users have other access to apps causing some to believe that iPad competitors, like the Streak, will have an edge when it comes to business users considering a tablet device.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in computer repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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