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Dell has a lot of catch-up to do when it comes to creating cool devices like Apple has. A key piece of that strategy is the Dell Streak tablet, a tablet device that has a 5-inch multitouch touchscreen and can make web phone calls.

The Android-based Streak is launching sometime this summer in the U.S.. O2 has already launched the device in its stores in the United Kingdom. It is billed as a device that will help you live your digital life on the go, allowing you to play thousands of Android Market widgets, games and apps. It has built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G connectivity. You can use it to download music or videos, update your social networking status, and stay connected with people via e-mail, text messages, instant messages and voice calls.

It’s targeted at students, mobile professionals and active families. And it’s for corporations that want to give their employees something more functional than a BlackBerry. The large screen is aimed at presenting web pages in their natural form or to make turn-by-turn navigation through Google Maps simple and safe. It has Qualcomm’s 1-gigahertz Snapdragon processor and a five-megapixel camera in the back as well as a VGA front-facing camera so that you can conceivably engage in video phone calls. It has two gigabytes of internal storage, and you can fit Micro SD memory cards up to 32 gigabytes in capacity.

The device is a hybrid between a smartphone and a large-screen tablet; it is small enough to fit in a pocket, but it’s somewhat awkward if you’re going to hold it up to your ear and talk. The design is much different than Dell’s first smartphone, the Dell Aero. The Streak is 10 millimeters thick and it weighs 7.7 ounces. There’s a proximity sensor that disables the screen while making a call, so you don’t shut it off by accident.

The platform will support over-the-air updates for Adobe Flash 10.1, video chat, and other software updates coming later this year for Android. There’s a virtual keyboard that has haptic feedback. The device comes pre-loaded with Microsoft’s QuickOffice, which can be used to view productivity documents.

The home screen can be much cleaner than the cluttered look you get with some smartphones that have lots of apps. You can look at a menu bar at the top of the screen that has commonly used functions or apps, or you can expand that view to include the icons for all of the apps you have. There is easy access to apps such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Battery life is about 10 hours.

We got a close-up look at the Dell Streak. Kevin Andrews, product manager for Dell’s Communications Solutions Group, showed it to us this week in San Francisco. Andrews said the product has been under design for about two years. Below, you can see how big the Streak looks compared to an iPhone 4. Check out the video with Andrews at the bottom.


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