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Dell launches Streak tablet PC

The Streak is smaller than most tablets with a 5in (12.5cm) screen and runs Google's Android operating system.

Personal computer behemoth, Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: Dell; HKEX: 4331), became the latest player to foray into the tablet PC market with the launch of The ‘Streak.’

The Round Rock, Texas-based multinational information technology corporation claimed that Streak, also known as the Mini 5, is a pioneer product and that many such products are in the pipeline.

"This is the first in a family of devices," Tavis Butler of Dell said.

The tablet runs Google's Android operating system and is being termed a "significant" achievement to mark Dell’s return to the tablet PC market.

Ian Fogg, analyst at research firm Forrester, opined that the success of the smartphone market and the software designed for the devices have ensured that these tablets have made a comeback.

Other players like Google are also in the race to enter the market. Hewlett Packard bought Palm with the intent of strengthening its mobile and tablet offerings. No prizes for guessing that the launch of the Apple iPad, which sold more than one million units in its first month, has driven other companies to follow suit.

Streak a consolidation device
The Streak, which comes with a touch screen, 3G and wi-fi connectivity, 16GB of storage, GPS and two cameras, will at first be launched across Europe, and then in the U.S.

Butler described the Steak as a "companion" or "consolidation device" and claimed that "it reduces the need to take five or six different gadgets.”

Will size matter?
The Streak, with a 5in (12.5cm) screen, is smaller than most of its competitors in the handheld computer market.

Ever since The Streak was put on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in January this year, there were doubts about the size of the gadget.

"It kind of fits somewhere in between a smart phone with a big screen and an iPad," opined Ben Wood of analyst firm CCS Insight. "The big unanswered question is whether there is any space for a device like that," he questioned.

Sources having knowledge of the matter state that Dell intends to launch a 7in and a 10in tablet in the future.

"This year our estimates suggest that there will be 1.3 billion mobile devices sold around the world. Dell wants to get into this space. How can any PC maker not afford to?" said Ben indicating that the market is really lucrative .

Ian Fogg, analyst at research firm Forrester, opined that the success of the smartphone market and the software designed for the devices have ensured that these tablets have made a comeback.

"Tablets need to be instant on and off, small and have a decent battery life. It is becoming an extension of the mobile phone market," said Fogg.