At the last MobileMonday Austin, Dell was on hand and during their presentation casually pulled a Mini 5 out and held it up for the crowd to see. At the time I was playing with my own phone and wouldn’t have ever noticed but luckily Todd was paying attention and demanded I go get photos. Good thing too, this big guy is looking pretty awesome.
We got to play with the device (they said they are hesitant to call it a phone because of it’s size) for a good half hour and came away pretty impressed. We grabbed a handful of photos but had been waiting to post them until some new information about the device came to light…
Today Engadget came across a leaked flyer that reveals new details and even a new name. The Dell Streak will be available in a number of color and design options (thanks to Dell Design Studio) and feature a new content partnership with Amazon.com. That means the Streak will have a Kindle e-book reader app, Amazon MP3, Amazon video streams- the full gamut of Amazon digital content goodness.
Check out the two leaked flyers below:
So what else do we know about it?
Size: Back when we played with the device it was still the Dell Mini 5 but a lot of things were starting to look pretty final. Like the form factor. As you can see in the photos (and in the flyers above and videos online) this thing is production ready. It has an incredibly slim body (in the same range of a Nexus or iPhone) and feels really good in hand (although that might change if you have tiny hands).
Custom UI: The Mini 5 is running a custom user interface but overall it wasn’t as intrusive as some others we’ve seen. I asked the rep how ‘deep’ the customizations were and he said they hope to never be more than a few weeks behind the official Android upgrades. The UI had a couple really nice ideas. You can launch the full app tray from any screen on the phone (no need to return home), you can easily add new home screens on the fly (with custom backgrounds), there were a number of custom yet clean widgets, all sorts of stuff that seemed natural and usable.
That being said, it wasn’t the prettiest interface I’ve ever seen. Lots of gray gradients and rounded edges left me wanting something a bit more sharp for the huge 5-inch WVGA (800 x 480) screen.
Keyboard: The Streak has a virtual keyboard but I thought it was worthy to note how huge it feels on the 5 inch screen. They’ve even got room to fit a full num pad on there. Which I think is a first on an Android virtual keyboard (at least displaying them alongside one another). The touchscreen felt very accurate and typing on this beast was a joy.
And other goodies: We’ve got a few more shots of the Mini 5 on our Flickr page. The unit on display was also capable of receiving live over the air TV (via a small third party unit). And even though there is only one channel here in Austin broadcasting in the new mobile standard format (which means probably fewer elsewhere), it was pretty cool to see live, high quality OTA TV on a phone.
Let’s wrap this up
The Dell Mini 5, er, the Dell Streak, really looks to be shaping up into a hot device. While it was running a dated version of Android, we’ve heard reports that Dell plans to get it upgraded in time for launch. When will that be? Well, they aren’t saying. But given how polished this thing is looking it’s gotta be soon.
Given all the discussion and jokes about the size of this beast (myself included) it was really nice to play with it in person to see how normal it felt. Sure it was larger than any phone I’ve ever used, but in an awesome way, not a look-at-me-holding-a-platter-against-my-face sorta way.