We all wait with baited breath for the iPad killer. Well, I imagine we all do. We know that the Dell Streak is on the market. Disappointingly, it runs the old version of Android operating system – v1.6 currently – although Dell do say it will be upgraded to the all-important 2.2 (Froyo) with Flash support later this year. The device is also some kind of freakish tablet/smartphone lovechild, weighing in at 5″ of screen. This is a problem because there are large pure-bred mobile devices such as the Motorola Droid X, which sports a whopping 4.3″ screen – only a tiny bit smaller than the Dell, plus it has Froyo already – and it makes phone calls without the need for a headset, or looking like Dom Joly.
Regardless, for the uses I have in mind within the hospital environment and for conference demo use, it’s a non-starter. See my previous post: iPad+Hospitals=gimmick?, where I discuss the potential benefits of an iPad or iPad-like device in the hospital setting. The screen on the Dell Streak, I think, is just too small.
So what’s next? Well, Samsung are getting us all salivating for the Galaxy Tab, and indeed, they have a short sequence with a nurse using the Tab in their very slick promo video. The specs look impressive and the 7″ size should actually be a benefit over the larger iPad, which can be tiring and heavy to hold and use whilst standing for periods of time (or even sitting for that matter). I worry about the Android platform here – iOS 4 from Apple was, I expect, designed for the tablet as well as the smaller iPhone and iPod Touch devices, but Android 2.x was built for mobile phones. There are rumours that Android 3.x (Gingerbread) will be a parallel operating system tailored to large-screen devices such as tablets, and if the Tab upgrades to 3.0 as rumoured, I see it as a major contender in the space.
And a word about the BlackBerry tablet (or BlackPad) that is rumoured to be launched very soon. We can only speculate on the size and features (7″, like the Samsung with two integrated cameras for Facetime-style videochat is expected), but it is known that the device will not be using the BlackBerry operating system that the manufacturer RIM uses on its handsets (currently OS6), but will use software developed by QNX, a company it aquired recently. Oddly, there are also indications it will have no integrated mobile, but would require the use of a paired BlackBerry handset. Sounds like the rumour mill to me?
However you look at it, I think these are exciting times and even rabid Apple fans will agree that competition in this sector is a very good thing.