Will Dell supersize its Mini tablet?

Fans of Dell and Android are drooling over two rumored "Streak" tablets that would complement Dell's Mini 5 device.

Everyone loves tablet gossip--blame it on our obsession with Apple's iPad--and today's rumor is a good one for Dell and Android fans. Engadget has obtained an allegedly leaked photo of two upcoming Dell "Streak" tablets, a 7-inch and 10-inch model, that would complement the company's previously announced Mini 5 device. (Or will it be the Streak 5?)

None of Dell's touchscreen tablets is shipping yet, but that may change soon. In February, Dell officials said the Mini 5 would ship "in a few months," and it's a safe bet that an early-summer launch is in the works. As for the larger slates, the 7-inch Streak could debut later this year, with the 10-incher appearing next year, if an internal Dell document obtained by Engadget (along with the Streak pics) is the real deal.

Dell's tablets are expected to run an as-of-yet unreleased version of Google's Android operating system, a logical move that would allow users to choose from more than 38,000 apps in the Android Market. The larger screen sizes--particularly the 10-inch Streak--are likely to appeal to consumers who want a tablet that does what their smartphones don't do very well, such as provide satisfactory Web-browsing, video-watching, and e-reading experiences.

Dell's 5-inch Mini may be pocket-sized like a smartphone--OK, a very large pocket--but its petite size could prove a turnoff to tablet shoppers who've spent some quality hands-on time with the iPad. A tablet isn't a smartphone, after all, nor should it pretend to be. A larger display opens the door to many apps that simply don't run well on a phone's dinky screen.

A Familiar Look

Visually, it seems that Dell has lifted a few design elements from Apple. The (allegedly) bootlegged photos of the 7-inch and 10-inch Streak reveal a slim, sleek handheld that mirrors the iPad aesthetic. Specs? Dell's tablets will likely win a Streak vs. iPad features race, at least initially, if they come with a front-facing VGA camera (for video chats), a 5-megapixel camera on the back, and a microSD card slot that they're expected to have.

Of course, Dell will soon have plenty of competition from a host of other major-name tablet makers, including Acer, Google, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba, all of which are readying their own iPad-killers for market.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
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