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Dell unveils seven-inch tablet and unlocked Android phone

Jan 6, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Dell announced a seven-inch Android 2.2 tablet called the Streak 7, featuring a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, dual cameras, and compatibility with T-Mobile's 4G-like HSPA+ network. The company also announced an unlocked, GSM-ready “Dell Venue” smartphone that runs Android 2.2 on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, with a 4.1-inch AMOLED display and eight-megapixel camera.

Tipped in September by Michael Dell himself, the Dell Streak 7 aims to receive a more positive reception than did its five-inch hybrid Dell Streak smartphone/tablet. The solidly built mini-tablet was much improved by its new Android 2.2 release (up from 1.6), according to one recent review, but is still deemed overpriced and somewhat confused in purpose.

Dell Streak 7
(Click to enlarge)

Adopting the more common, Galaxy Tab-like seven-inch format, the Streak 7 features a 4G cellular radio and the hot processor du jour, the dual-core, 1GHz Cortex-A9-based Nvidia Tegra 2. Unfortunately, it does not offer the new Android 3.0 ("Honeycomb") release that's optimized for Tegra 2-based tablets (and tablet screen sizes), but instead uses Android 2.2.

Again Dell seems to be repeating the pattern of saddling impressive hardware with an aging Android release. Yet, Froyo is not that old, so it should be fine for a seven-inch tablet, as long as the pricing is reasonable. Dell doesn't promise an upgrade to Android 2.3, let alone 3.0, but it does tout the tablet's over-the-air (OTA) upgrade capability.

T-Mobile already has a 4G Android 3.0 tablet lined up with LG's upcoming G-Slate, and it also offers the popular Samsung Galaxy Tab, so the Streak 7 could feel the pressure from both sides.

Dell has equipped the Streak 7 with either 16GB or 32GB of internal flash memory, and also offers a microSD slot for expansion. The seven-inch touchscreen is touted for its Gorilla Glass protection, but its resolution is a modest WVGA (800 x 480). This may be typical for seven inchers, but it's less than the Galaxy Tab's 1024 x 600 pixels, and somewhat disappointing considering the powerful Tegra 2 processor.

The cellular radio supports T-Mobile's HSPA+ service, which is generally considered to be 3.5G, but which the carrier claims offers 4G-like speeds. Today, T-Mobile announced that it is upgrading the network to 42Mbps speeds, however, which would give more credence to the 4G claim. (Tellingly, however, while the press release refers to 4G, the Dell spec sheet calls it 3G. Dell also suggests that one can buy the tablet without cellular service at all.)

The Streak 7 also provides 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, and speakers. Other features, such as accelerometers, audio ports, and the like, are not listed, but may well be included.

Qik Video Chat on the Streak 7

The Streak 7 provides both a rear-facing five-megapixel camera, as well as a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera served by a preloaded Qik Video Chat application, says Dell. The five megapixel camera is also said to offer video capture, but oddly, the company does not list specs for either video capture or playback, except to say that the device supports H.263/H.264, 3GP, MPEG4, WMV formats.

Presumably, with a Tegra 2, it could record 720p video and play 1080p. There is no mention of an HDMI port, however.

The Streak 7 measures 7.87 x 4.72 x 0.49 inches (199.9 x 119.8 x 12.4mm) and weighs 15.87 ounces (450 grams), says Dell. Battery life is not listed, but with the substantial 2780mAh battery, it should be pretty good.

Like most Android 2.2 tablets, the Streak 7 provides Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and Microsoft Exchange, two features added in Froyo. Unlike most, it also supplies Android Market access.

The Streak 7 also features Dell's Stage user interface, focused on multimedia content. Later this year, Dell will add a sync capability to Stage for synchronizing photos, contacts, calendars, and other personal content across Stage-equipped devices including PCs, says the company.

The Dell Streak 7 comes preloaded with content and apps including a T-Mobile TV live and on-demand TV service, a BrainPOP animated educational app, the Zinio online newsstand, and the aforementioned Qik video chat app. Additional apps are said to include Blockbuster, Kindle for Android, Let's Golf demo, Slacker Radio, and Zoodles.

Streak 10, shown at CES
Source: Engadget

Also at the Streak 7 launch in CES today, Dell briefly flashed an upcoming 10-inch Streak model due out later this year, according to Engadget. This is more likely to run Honeycomb, which would appear to be shown in the image above displaying the Stage UI layer. However, this is just a static image, says the story.

Stated Cole Brodman, CMO, T-Mobile USA, "We're proud to bring consumers our first 4G tablet, a milestone for T-Mobile, Dell and the industry."

Dell Venue

The Dell Venue appears to be the final release of the Dell Thunder phone tipped back in April. Previous Dell Android phones have included the modestly appointed, 3.5-inch Dell Aero, an AT&T version of the original Mini 3.

Dell Venue
(Click on either to enlarge)

The phone borrows its branding from the Windows 7-based Dell Venue Pro, but in place of the Pro's vertical slider keyboard design, it offers a standard slab design.

Side view of Venue

Far more advanced than the Aero, the Android 2.2 version of the Venue offers the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD 8250 processor. The phone is further equipped with 512MB RAM, 1GB of internal flash, and an apparently empty microSD slot that can handle up to 32GB.

Unlocked, the phone offers GSM with HSDPA cellular support. The Venue provides a 4.1-inch AMOLED display with 800 x 480 resolution and curved Corning Gorilla Glass for added durability, says Dell.

There's no front-facing videocam, but the phone supplies a high-end eight-megapixel autofocus camera with 4x digital zoom, dedicated camera key, and video record capability. As with the Streak, video quality is not listed either for capture or playback, but format support is listed as H.264, MPEG-4 AVC, and WMV formats.

Additional features include Wi-Fi, aGPS, Bluetooth 2.1, and a micro-USB port. A 3.5mm audio port is supplied, as are a G-sensor and E-compass, says Dell. The phone weighs a lightweight 5.8 ounces (164 grams), and is available with a 1400 mAh battery, says the company.

Like the Streak 7, the Venue offers Android 2.2 with Android Market, Adobe Flash 10.1, as well as the Dell Stage user interface layer (pictured at right). Other software is said to include ActiveSync, QuickOffice, and Swype predictive text input.


The new Dell Streak 7 Tablet is expected to be available in the U.S. in the coming weeks at T-Mobile retail stores and direct from Dell. More information may be found at Dell's Streak 7 page, and notification signup may be found at T-Mobile's Streak 7 page.

No information was provided on the availability of the Venue, but more information on the phone itself may be found at Dell's Venue page.

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