Brighthand Bytes

Aug 30 2010   10:39AM GMT

Dell Streak: The Shape of Things to Come

Ed Hardy Ed Hardy Profile: Ed Hardy

The new Dell Streak is definitely controversial. Because it sports a 5.0-inch display, many classify it as a tablet rather than a smartphone. Even Dell has sent mixed signal about what type of device this is.

To me, there’s no doubt that it’s a smartphone. And people might want to get used to it, because I predict that plenty of future smartphones are going to have screens this size.

Just Part of a Trend
It was just a few years ago that most people scoffed at the idea that the average consumer would ever use smartphone with a 3.5-inch display. This was when the super-small RAZR was en vogue, and people who used smartphones with large screens were labeled “geeks”. 

Today, we call these people “iPhone users”.

When Apple released its first smartphone in 2007, a million people or more started using phones with large touchscreens. That number has grown steadily ever since.

And the iPhone’s 3.5-inch display is actually not even considered particularly large these days. The HTC EVO 4G and Motorola Droid X have 4.3-inch screen, and I’ve already mentioned the Streak’s 5.0-inch one.

Usage Patterns Are Changing
The reason screens are getting bigger is because the way we use out phones has changed. People, especially younger users, are increasing sending texts, taking pictures, and surfing the Web on their phone, and maybe sometimes making a call.

Dell Streak Tablet Phone with Google Android OSIf you’re making lots of voice calls, you want the smallest device you can get so it’s more lightweight and portable. But if you’re posting to Facebook or watching a video, you want a large screen.

There’s a Limit
While there’s no doubt that phones have gotten bigger in recent years, this trend won’t continue indefinitely. In fact, a 5-inch screen is pretty close to the limit.

Your phone goes with you everywhere, and to do so it has to fit in your pocket. The Streak passes this test, but just barely. That’s what makes me think it’s the shape of things to come. It’s as big as a phone can be without being too big.

While it’s true you get a better Web and video experience on devices even larger than the Streak, I don’t think we’ll reach the point where everyone carries a 10-inch tablet with them everywhere.

I base this on my own experience: when I first got my iPad, it was constantly with me. But after a couple of months, toting it around all the time started became more hassle than it was worth. Now it only comes with me only on trips where I know I’ll need it.

Dell Streak ReviewTheWhat has replaced it is the Dell Streak. It always goes with me whenever I leave the house because it is almost as nice to use as the iPad, but it fits in my pocket.

I’m expecting many more people to realize the advantages of having a large — but not too large — smartphone. I predict there will be 5-inch Droids and iPhones on the market in the next year or so.

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