Dell Plans A New Streak Tablet, in Hot Seven-Inch Size

Another day, another tablet in the category now dominated by Apple’s iPad. On Wednesday, Dell CEO Michael Dell said his company will offer a second tablet, a seven-inch version of its Streak device.

The company’s deeper investment in tablets joins its already-released five-inch Streak. Both tablets are based on Google’s open-source Android operating system, although the current Streak, which is part smartphone, launched with the older 1.6 version.

‘Sweet Spot for Tablets’

Dell showed the newest tablet at the Oracle conference currently under way in San Francisco, Calif., but declined to provide further details. He did say that the five-inch Streak will soon be offered through Best Buy stores.

The seven-inch form factor could become “the sweet spot for tablets,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with industry research firm Forrester. She said the iPad’s size, with a 9.7-inch display, “is great for display and reading, but seems not the best size for human ergonomics.” By contrast, she said, a seven-inch tablet can be held with one hand.

Epps said the five-inch tablet is “too small to type with two hands, and too wide to use your thumbs.”

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which will be released in the U.S. through the four biggest wireless carriers, is a seven-incher, and there have been reports that Apple is currently manufacturing a seven-inch version of its iPad, possibly for release as early as the first quarter of 2011.

Setting size aside, Epps noted “several problems” with Dell’s growing Streak product line. The five-inch Streak, she pointed out, does not use the most recent version of Android, which means, among other things, that it doesn’t support Adobe Flash.

‘Little Too Stripped Down’

In general, she said, the user experience of the current Streak “is a little too stripped down,” and it “almost feels like a mini-Dell computer.” But the tablet category is…

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