Dell Takes on Apple's iPad

Can the new "Streak" make a dent?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dell is giving it a go...

    The minute the new Dell Streak arrived in the newsroom, the place turned into a bad imitation of "The Office," with comments like, "It's only that big?," "That's not all that much to touch," and "wow, it's barely wider than my phone."

    The supposed contender to the iPad throne when it comes to early tablet computers is, in fact, much smaller.  It's screen is five inches in size, about half that of the ipad. For a  tablet, that's pretty small.  For a phone, though -- which the Streak has -- it's actually pretty darn big.

    And that's what makes the difference to Paulina Baytler.  We found Paulina at Orchard Valley Coffee Shop in Campbell, where we brought the Streak to people who had never seen it before. 

    Paulina knows all about the iPad, but hey, she already has a laptop, and the Apple device doesn't come with a phone or a camera.  The Streak has both (5 megapixels for your photos), and she's sold.  "I like it," she says, "BECAUSE it's small and compact."

    Now, not to say that Apple should be worried about the Streak.  Early reviews have been mixed at best.  We've come to appreciate our photos, movies, and websites writ large on the iPad. 

    The Streak is, again, barely larger than a smartphone (and the Sprint Evo's screen gives it a run for its money).  But if Paulina is any indication (and we did find her with three gadgets at her coffee shop table), there just may be a market for a tablet that's smaller.  The Streak will fit into a pocket or purse, and with the Android operating system, it does a lot. 

    It's also a bit cheaper.  With a contract (Dell, like Apple, is going exclusively with AT&T on this one), it'll cost you $300.  If you're shopping for a tablet, chances are that the Streak is not going to bring you to lust, like so many people feel with the iPad.  But, if nothing else, it's a very different choice.

    Yes, Scott also expected something bigger.  He's on Twitter @scottbudman