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Android Handhelds Hardware

Early Hands-On Preview of Dell's Streak 7 Tablet 96

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-it's-the-year-of-linux-on-the-tablet dept.
MojoKid writes "Dell recently started shipping their Streak 7 tablet and it's the highly anticipated big brother of Dell's 5-inch tablet, the Streak 5 that came out in September of 2010. The larger Streak 7 goes up against stiff competition with the likes of Samsung's Galaxy Tab, though the Streak 7 is retailing slightly lower with or without a contract through T-Mobile. Regardless, the Dell Streak 7 offers some pluses over the Galaxy Tab, like its 5MP rear-facing camera, but comes up short in other areas, such as its lower resolution (800x480) display — versus the Galaxy Tab's 1024x600 display. The Dell Streak 7 also has NVIDIA's Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor under its hood for a rather snappy Android 2.2 experience, as you can see here in this early, hands-on preview of the device. In early benchmark testing, the Streak 7 is looking pretty strong versus the Galaxy Tab, which comes in neck-and-neck with the Streak 7 in Neocore, at around 54 FPS."
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Early Hands-On Preview of Dell's Streak 7 Tablet

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  • by markass530 (870112) <markass530.gmail@com> on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:13AM (#35109404) Homepage
    From delaying updates, slacking on them, to a VERY overpriced galaxy tab next phone I get won't be a samsung (the one I have now is) The Venue 7 is dual core, and cheaper then the Galaxy tab. It also owns the Ipad from what I can see
    • by FyRE666 (263011) * on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:44AM (#35109492) Homepage

      Not sure about "owning the iPad". There's a lot of things to dislike about Apple - i'm certainly no fanboi - but the user interface response of the iPad isn't one of them. I was looking at Android tablets just yesterday, tried out a Galaxy Tab in the flesh and it seemed clunky and slow compared to my iPad. This is before I'd read any reviews that basically also slammed the performance. With my iPad, it responds instantly to swipes and taps, the Galaxy seemed to be having serious problems responding to events - especially in its web browser. Yes, it's a cheaper device, but the specs are not far from the ones in the iPad.

      I'm working on apps for both iOS and Android at the moment (don't bother looking on my website - hasn't been updated for about 10 years ;-) ) and the difference in performance on both the devices and the emulators is striking. Obviously it doesn't help that the Android tablets are currently running operating systems designed for phones. I'll be interested to see how Honeycomb performs on live kit. I really hope it does fix the performance problems.

      I might as well rant about the Android emulator while I'm on it - it's virtually unusable on any hardware I have - a well specced iMac, and even my gaming rig with 12GB RAM and an i7 950 can only run it at about 70% of the speed of an old Google G1! (528mhz phone with 192MB RAM) I mean come on! The iPhone simulator is doing the same job, and easily outpaces the hardware phone. I was using emulators 10 years ago on a PC with far lower specs that ran flawlessly. The excuses for the lamentable performance that I've read are centered around the Android emulator being an accurate emulation of all aspects of the platform. This is all well and good, but if it means it's too slow to accurately emulate the speed of even the slowest hardware, then it's pointless. I hope to god that someone at Google is sorting this out, because bad toolsets are one of the biggest turnoffs to developers.

      • by alvinrod (889928) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:21AM (#35109576)

        Not sure about "owning the iPad". There's a lot of things to dislike about Apple - i'm certainly no fanboi - but the user interface response of the iPad isn't one of them. I was looking at Android tablets just yesterday, tried out a Galaxy Tab in the flesh and it seemed clunky and slow compared to my iPad. This is before I'd read any reviews that basically also slammed the performance. With my iPad, it responds instantly to swipes and taps, the Galaxy seemed to be having serious problems responding to events - especially in its web browser. Yes, it's a cheaper device, but the specs are not far from the ones in the iPad.

        From what I've heard this is due to differences in the way the two operating systems work. iOS takes an approach that the UI should always be responsive and fluid at the expense of other things. Load a /. article and have it display hundreds of comments and start scrolling like mad towards the top. It'll scroll smoothly, but eventually you'll hit a point where it hasn't rendered that part of the page so you don't actually see anything there until it renders it (usually a second or so). Android on the other hand will load the entire page and render it, but trying to scroll through all of it will cause things to appear choppy. Things get even worse if there are a lot of Flash elements on the page. The device prioritizes those over UI touch events so it starts to feel clunky at times. Comes down to different design philosophies.

        • by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @03:59AM (#35109918)
          Based on what I've read, the architecture, the event and view models, at least from the client's perspective are very similar. Events go on a queue, get dispatched down a data structure that identifies the targeted UI element, MVC workflow, etc. I am aware that Android, at this present juncture, does very little hardware acceleration, and almost none in 2D, and it doesn't really affect the UX right up to the moment the user tries to scroll, though of course users judge the whole touch experience by the scrolling...

          One can imagine how this sort of thing happens... the Apple engineer hands the prototype to the Steve, and the first time it stutters he gets smacked, The Google engineer hands the prototype to whatever-his-name-is, and the first time it stutters they say, "oh well, it'll ship, it's up to the HTC guys to come up with a fast enough processor." Nice to just do the OS, huh?

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Or they were busy implementing other things, like browser plugin support (Flash), live wallpaper, widgets, object sharing, wifi tethering, voice recognition, requiring to effectively make two copies of the api (Native and Dalvik), a push notification system that doesn't just send tiny numbers and symbols, etc. Android's functionality is a lot greater, and that's the target audience Google was aiming for first -- those who want functionality and freedom, not the common everyday person -- they knew they had

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Doesn't Android use QEMU for its emulator? Is ARM QEMU running Debian/etc similarly slow on your machines?

      • I have no idea if this is the case but an iPhone simulator should have little need to emulate *anything*.

        Sans ARM assembly, the Xcode environment should transparently cross compile objective-c. Darwin is the common platform, so ios libraries on OSX would be trivial to implement. The main difference being that ioswrites directly to the screen whereas the simulator would write to an OSX window. Hence a good simulator would run your iPad app *natively*.

        And since Mach-O supports multiple CPUs, don't be surpris

        • I have no idea if this is the case but an iPhone simulator should have little need to emulate *anything*.

          Sans ARM assembly, the Xcode environment should transparently cross compile objective-c. Darwin is the common platform, so ios libraries on OSX would be trivial to implement.

          This is what the iPhone simulator does, when targeting the iPhone simulator you get x86 binaries that use iOS libraries also built for x86.

          It does a great job of making sure your code will all basically run well. What it does mean t

          • Cool, thanks. That of course would explain the vast performance difference if Android emulates an entire phone!

            As for simulating Android on desktop Linux sans emulator, stayed tuned for IcedRobot which is set to be announced this weekend at Fosdem.

          • by Tapewolf (1639955)
            I prefer Google's approach, myself. The Windows CE emulator used to do what Apple does, as did Symbian.
            Not only did it mean - in both cases - that the emulator ran many times faster than the actual hardware, the fact that they were doing a WINE approach to the target OS meant that lots of things which worked fine in the emulator would die horribly on the actual device. Maybe Apple actually did a decent job of it, but I've seen this approach go wrong more times than I care to remember.
            • Other than performance I've not really had an issue ever in years of use, where something worked on the simulator and not on the device. Since they are both running the same libraries this makes good sense...

              I prefer the simulator to be a rapid prototyping platform and the device to be the final test-bed. Something needs to be fast somewhere to make development quick, it may as well be the simulator.

      • by dara (119068)

        This is a very interesting point about the emulator. I haven't tried one yet, but I was thinking of downloading Meego (though I don't have a Linux PC right now - so I'd have to wait for Mac or Windows versions) and Android emulators and playing with them side by side as a way help make a decision on which platform to go to. I'm leaving iOS after trying an iPhone 3g for a few years. Among other things - I will never forgive Apple for crippling this model with iOS4 and then not supporting a downgrade to iO

      • by t2t10 (1909766) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @04:35AM (#35110044)

        With my iPad, it responds instantly to swipes and taps, the Galaxy seemed to be having serious problems responding to events - especially in its web browser. Yes, it's a cheaper device, but the specs are not far from the ones in the iPad.

        Apple did a good job on optimizing specific applications, and they trade off memory and speed. That's a nice touch if you happen to run just a few Apple apps, but it only goes so far. Once you start using other apps and once multitasking comes into play, the iPad can hang and stutter with the best of them. (Also, a lot of the apps that you run on the Tab don't even come from Google, they come from Samsung.)

        In practice, the Galaxy Tab works well; it isn't as sleek or polished or impressive as the iPad, but I find it actually a lot more useful.

        • by narcc (412956)

          The only real contender in the next wave of tablets seems to be RIM's PlayBook. The videos out so far are pretty amazing -- dare I call it revolutionary?

          It steals all the best of WebOS in terms of UI and the hardware is top-notch. It's smooth and responsive even when multitasking wtih several CPU intensive tasks.

          It really makes the Streak 7 and Xoom tablets, which feel like an incremental upgrade to the iPad, seem outdated.

          If the iPad 2 doesn't bring something new to the game, we could see a major shift i

          • by 4phun (822581)

            The only real contender in the next wave of tablets seems to be RIM's PlayBook. The videos out so far are pretty amazing -- dare I call it revolutionary?

            It steals all the best of WebOS in terms of UI and the hardware is top-notch. It's smooth and responsive even when multitasking wtih several CPU intensive tasks.

            It really makes the Streak 7 and Xoom tablets, which feel like an incremental upgrade to the iPad, seem outdated.

            If the iPad 2 doesn't bring something new to the game, we could see a major shift in the tablet market this year.

            How come it can not do BlackBerry email when it is a BlackBerry device? You need to mate it with a BlackBerry phone. The iPad does email in spades and it doesn't need an iPhone.

            • by narcc (412956)

              How come it can not do BlackBerry email when it is a BlackBerry device?

              It does when paired -- nice, as you get all of the security and none of the administrative overhead.

              There are a few rumors floating around that the software will be updated for the 3g and 4g versions to support BB email without pairing. Of course, this doesn't stop you from using any of the third-party email applications available or web-based mail.

              You need to mate it with a BlackBerry phone.

              This is actually one of the coolest features of the PlayBook. I can turn off the BB bridge connection and all my data, files, etc. are no longer on the PlayBoo

          • by t2t10 (1909766)

            Hell will freeze over before I buy another Blackberry. Those devices are awful.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why do you think Dell will be any different? Dell does the same thing with their consumer laptops -- halting support 5-6 months after release, official drivers 6-10 months old. Dell had no problem leaving one of my laptops with a broken and severely outdated switchable-GPU stack (which they could have fixed). They are better than HP and Toshiba are, but that's not saying much now is it?

    • by t2t10 (1909766)

      Samsung has been pushing out updates for the Galaxy Tab regularly. Updates on the Tab have been much more frequent than on the Galaxy S as far as I can tell.

      Was the Tab overpriced? Well, yes, in the sense of having a huge markup over the hardware. But the Tab was the only product in its category, and they are on target for selling all the ones they made. In the end, it's supply and demand, not cost, that sets the price. The Tab was meant and priced for early adopters and people who really needed an And

  • by rampant mac (561036) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:21AM (#35109430)

    Which one will be able to be upgraded to Honeycomb? I wouldn't buy an Android tablet before their tablet version of software became available, regardless of the hardware. Are there any upgrade paths that *either* vendor (Dell or Samsung) has specified? I feel some early adopters will be left out in the cold.

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@worfMOSCOW.net minus city> on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:37AM (#35109610)

      Which one will be able to be upgraded to Honeycomb? I wouldn't buy an Android tablet before their tablet version of software became available, regardless of the hardware. Are there any upgrade paths that *either* vendor (Dell or Samsung) has specified? I feel some early adopters will be left out in the cold.

      The best answer is "if it didn't come with Honeycomb, don't assume it will".

      Buy it for what it has now, not what it might have. After all, there are tons of people who were promised upgrades only to be left stranded, so it's best to assume that what you buy now is what you're stuck with.

      Most likely you'll be able to get Honeycomb through hacks at the very least, but buying now to get a future upgrade is a losing proposition. Best to wait for the Honeycomb tablets to come first.

      This is especially so when you buy Android devices that come with 1.6 firmware, too.

      • There was a chart put together about manfacturer upgrade rates recently, that may shed some insight on this. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9204779/Android_upgrades_Manufacturer_comparison_?taxonomyId=75&pageNumber=1 [computerworld.com]

        However tablets are a bit of a different ballgame, how much different is hard to say though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        This is what I think is stupid about android. It's touted as being "open" but you are left depending on the manufacturer of the device to upgrade the software. You should be able to download the software directly from Google and install it on any tablet. Without the manufacturer getting into the way. This should be a condition of allowing the manufacturers to use the Android OS. Making it user servicable. Otherwise what's the point of going with Android. Apple was a great step forward, allowing updat
        • Android is most open to the manufacturers, not necessarily the end users. The manufacturers are free to do whatever they like with the OS. While this openness might be seen as a bad thing (no consistency between devices, no OS updates, tons of pre-installed unremovable junkware) it's also a huge part of Android's market dominance.

          Of course end users are always free to install their own homebrew firmware. So they're not entirely left out in the cold.
        • by shellbeach (610559) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @08:29PM (#35114892)

          This is what I think is stupid about android. It's touted as being "open" but you are left depending on the manufacturer of the device to upgrade the software. You should be able to download the software directly from Google and install it on any tablet.

          Well, actually you can. The source code for Android is freely available [android.com], and you can literally roll your own. That's exactly what's been going on with heaps of Android phones right now, that are happily running Gingerbread long before the manufacturers have even thought about releasing an update.

          Where the model falls down, though, is in the hardware drivers -- for my phone, an HTC Desire, developers are still waiting on Google's long-promised-but-never-delivered OTA update to the Nexus One in order to grab the proprietary hardware drivers for the device. Don't misunderstand me -- everything works right now, and very well too -- but not quite as well as it might with the proprietary drivers.

          • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)
            Respectfully, Are Grandpa Bob and Grandma Ella going to "roll their own?"

            This is a great example of the disconnect that exists between (many) /. users and the rest of the world. I don't want a pad or phone that I need to roll my own for. Phones and pads are appliances that I expect to turn on and work. When I want to write software, I have the tools for that already, sitting on my desk.

            It's a paradigm shift (gar - can't believe I wrote that) But the IPad is already making life a lot easier for a lot o

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rennt (582550)

      I don't get the attitude that Gingerbread is somehow unsuited to tablets. The definitions of "tablet" vs "phone" are arbitrary and mostly dictated by marketing anyway. A couple of years ago we would have called a 4 inch device a tablet, and look where we are now.

      But to answer your question, Samsung at least are apparently planning on sticking with Android 2.X on 7 inch class devices and 3.X on the 10 inch class, and I have to say this seems like a good move. Having used the wife's Galaxy Tab fairly extensiv

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        The definitions of "tablet" vs "phone" are arbitrary and mostly dictated by marketing anyway.

        The classic blunder of the computer nerd: over-generalization.

    • by helios17 (617082)
      I like early adopters...and I like to see lots of them. Their purchases fund the efforts to upgrade the device with improvements. By the time that cycle ends, other competitors have entered the market and I can purchase a better product at a lower price.
  • Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:23AM (#35109434)

    Let me know when honeycomb is out. Since these devices are all going to be treated as abandonware there's no point in buying into a dead end that will be obsolete in months.

    • by Fnkmaster (89084)

      Generally true, but the Tegra 2/Android platform is so standardized now that most of the ROMs are easily portable between devices, and there's a very healthy community on XDA Developer forums building, porting and supporting ROMs and useful apps for Tegra 2 tablets. Especially for the G Tablet, because we have kernel source available unlike some of the other devices out there.

      I'm running a port of the Advent Vega ROM on my Viewsonic G Tablet, and there's a port of the Notion Ink ROM now too.

      CyanogenMod run

      • by rwa2 (4391) *

        Word, I'm rockin TnTLite on my Viewsonic G Tablet, and it works great! Flash videos on websites under the DolphinHD browser works like a dream in fullscreen... no stuttering like with my eeePC 901 (I'm sure this has more to do with the intel GPU... the nVidia ION atom platform can run smoothly).

        Also have my old bluetooth GPS tethered to it so I can use navigation apps, and of course I have it tethered to my phone. The only thing it still lacks from a fully-featured Android device (other than 3G) is a magn

  • I'm still holding out on Toshiba's still unnamed offering. That thing is going to be the IPad killer if anything will be. But what's up with the thing still not having a brand name?

    linky: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/21/toshiba-launches-flashy-tablet-teaser-site-still-doesnt-have-a/ [engadget.com]
  • Specs Meh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrDoh! (71235) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:42AM (#35109484) Homepage Journal

    Power drain appears to be drastic.
    Screen rez being lower than the Tab is going to be annoying.
    And releasing a 2.x version device NOW when if they'd wait a couple of weeks they could do 3.0?
    Then again, the Tab was nobbled by not allowing regular voice calls in the US.
    But at least it's price is better, but overall a lesser experience when Android Tab makers should be aiming far higher.

    Dell, what are you doing?

    How to make a decent 7" Android Tablet
    Tegra appears to work well. Don't be afraid of standardising on it.
    Latest version of Android, whatever version that is.
    Full Bluetooth support so we can pair up devices
    HDMI output so we can use it with bigger screens if we want to.
        Speaking of HDMI port, if you need to use a non-standard port then split out the hdmi? well, if you have to, but make a standard USB port too for us to charge/connect upto.
    Voice calling as an option, not limited. Let me choose to pay a phone company 50 bucks a month and make you more money, don't limit us
    Standard Android UI, no motoblur/horrible stuff we only load a newer launcher over anyway
    1024x600 at least (Tab's display really is bright and clear. Should be the bare minimum rez for future devices, 7" at least, and don't even /think/ of less on a 10" device.
    Decent speakers (again, the Tab does pretty good here)
    Clean edges. Glass fronted. Tab/Ipad/Streak, cover the full front of the screen. Not try and jam in terrible trackpad controls like the cheap version being sold in BestBuy atm.
    Rootable. (if you want to put the entire bootable OS part on a seperate SDcard inside that's not easily accesible? Go for it, but these devices WILL be hacked. Making it repairable as people learn helps make a better device for customer/client.)
    Accept that some people will use them landscape, some portrait, take into account button/headphone positioning. Don't try and force landscape. (again, launchers help us get around this, so... save some time!)

    More blue LEDs please

  • Battery life is crap (Score:5, Informative)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @12:52AM (#35109504)
    Engadget has a much better and more detailed review [engadget.com] of the device. They disliked the poor screen resolution and really dinged it for the abysmal battery life. The most they could get out of it was 6 hours if their usage was light.

    Battery life with screen at 65% brightness, WiFi on, playing standard definition video.

    Dell Streak 7: 3:26
    Archos 70: 6:00
    Samsung Galaxy Tab: 6:09
    Archos 101: 7:20
    Apple iPad : 9:33

    The Galaxy Tab outclasses this thing in just about any conceivable manner.
    • by Aranykai (1053846)

      Also,

      In early benchmark testing, the Streak 7 is looking pretty strong versus the Galaxy Tab, which comes in neck-and-neck with the Streak 7 in Neocore, at around 54 FPS."

      Despite the self-contradictory way this sentence was worded, they benchmark nearly the same.

      • It seems that the Tegra 2 continues the Tegra's fine tradition of shit CPU performance. I wish the various hardware manufacturers would wait for a decent Cortex A9 to come out, like an OMAP4 or Samsung Orion, but it seems like that's too much to hope for.
    • by Fnkmaster (89084)

      Huh, well, the Viewsonic G Tablet is a Tegra 2 tablet that gets in the 6-7 hour range playing video. So this is either an issue with the battery capacity on the Streak (could just be a smaller battery in that smaller form factor tablet) or a software issue with their ROM/video playback software.

    • Well if you want to bring up Archos stuff, if you buy one of those things, better hope you don't need support from the company. I couldn't get my 2 month old archos fixed, i ended up having to throw it in the garbage. Buy something else, which is sad because it was a good machine while it worked, for those few days.
  • Doing it wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2011 @01:14AM (#35109558)

    If you are reviewing a new tablet based on FPS and hardware benchmarks then I bet you are one of those people who still can't understand why the iPad is owning the market.

    • by Swampash (1131503)

      mod parent up times infinity.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ipad lost 20% of the market to Android last quarter, and we haven't even seen most of the major devices released for sale yet.

      Android will wipes the floor with Apple in tablets just as it has in the smartphone arena. It has nothing to do with hardware specs, at least you're right about that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Not really. Apple sold, to consumers, 7.3 million iPads. That number was limited by supply. Samsung channel stuffed 2 million Tabs but actual sales to consumers was under half a million. And 16% are being returned.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's not android that wipes floor but army of manufacturers who want piece of the market. The android just happens to be a convenient operating system to install. Would apple had licenced it's iOS to other manufacturers the android wouldn't had a chance even on phone arena.

      • I think you're in for a rude wake up. Soon Android will see it's phone sales plummet on Verizon and you'll see what the first head to head competition looks like. You'll also see Android tablets come out left and right and they won't make a dent in iPad sales this year. Apple brought this new touchscreen tablet market alve with iPad and I don't see any compelling alternatives on the horizon.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Galaxy Tab and Streak 7 absolutely trounce the iPad in the "Big Sack of Shit" category.

      • by 4phun (822581)

        The Galaxy Tab and Streak 7 absolutely trounce the iPad in the "Big Sack of Shit" category.

        That seems to be the honest consensus at Engadget.

    • I was thinking the same thing, but this AC worded it much more succinctly than I was.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Benchmarks, no, but HW features make a big difference sometimes. Obviously the iPhone's biggest praise is its resolution. But personally, after using the HDMI out on my phone, I could never go back to a phone without it (unless it had wifi display support).

      • But personally, after using the HDMI out on my phone, I could never go back to a phone without it (unless it had wifi display support).

        That's exactly what Apple is supporting with AirPlay, WiFi display support.

        You have to have either an AppleTV, or some other device that supports AirPlay attached to the TV (there are servers now for Windows/Mac and I think possibly some for various homebrew media systems).

      • is the numero uno top maximum priority most people look for in a phone.

        Right.

    • but, but, then Phoronix can't review it!

    • Is it because it makes you better than other people?
  • by Renderer of Evil (604742) on Saturday February 05, 2011 @07:02AM (#35110400) Homepage

    By whom? Who is anticipating this aside from a handful of people on gadget blogs?

    This is running smartphone OS on a tablet that's kinda-sorta not really a tablet and has been disowned by Google as "not ready."

    Sometimes I wonder if the editors here are even paying attention.

    By the way, Engadget gave it a pretty dismal score as far as gadgets go. 4/10

  • I don't have much time to type so a quicky here: what a load of crap.

    I read a lot of bad comments here re: Samsung and updates and Tab quality / speed. Samsung updates just fine, the international model of the SGS for example has had Froyo for almost half a year now. Just not your carrier branded models. The Tab slow ? No way. If you're running a couple of apps, it lags less than the iPad does. The Tab is a great device - though soon there will be much better - but the Streak simply isn't it. The only reall

  • i won't buy it cos i can't make phone calls on it without add-ons

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