That Richard Lai fella sure gets all the luck, eh? Not only was Engadget’s London-based editor amongst the first to get to play with a Streak (aka Mini 5), Dell’s impressive 5” Android slate device, he’s now gotten an exclusive look at an early build of Eclair 2.1 running on the “tablet-phone”. While the previously unexpected 1.6 to 2.1 update is intended as a stop-gap measure to reduce the pain of waiting for Froyo, Engadget encountered several new features in their time with the new OS. While nothing has changed drastically, Eclair on the Streak has brought a few improvements and niggles of note:

The Good

  • One of the major complaints against the Streak was that its enormous screen space was wasted in landscape mode due to the inclusion of a number pad on the right side of its soft keyboard. It seems like Dell have listened to their critics, as the keyboard has done away with the numpad, as well as the caps-lock key, in favour of a more spacious key layout
  • The Android 2.1 underpinnings of Dell’s Streak ROM grant it access to a swathe of new features such as Live Wallpapers, Pinch-to-Zoom in Maps, the Cooliris Gallery 3D first seen on the Nexus One, and of course compatibility with all the new applications previously un-installable on 1.6
  • The camera interface has had a bit of a change. While it now looks more like the standard arrangement seen on stock Android, it brings with it something that’s all the rage these days : 720P video recording. From the sample video posted the sharpness seems reasonably good and the colours are deeply saturated
  • Dell have changed the dialer interface, improving the styling and adding shortcut tabs to the Phone, Call Log, Contacts and Favourites
  • Remote control of music playback has been fixed, allowing you to skip tracks by double-clicking the in-line button on your earphones
  • Overall impressions are that the OS is running extremely smoothly on the Streak



Credit : Engadget Mobile

The Bad

  • The spacing on the homescreens has been tweaked, in such a way that icons are now further apart. The end result is that you can fit less icons and less widgets on your desktop. This seems odd as surely you’d want to exploit the 5” screen of the Streak to its full potential by putting on as many things as you could.
  • The left-hand task button, up where the status bar is on standard Android, has had its functionality changed. The ability to add and remove homescreens from this pop-up has been nixed and the button now exists solely to show your latest run applications, similar to holding down the Home key on other phones.
  • Still no sign of Froyo. August has come and it feels like every other handset out there has Android 2.2 or will be getting it very shortly. This update is all well and good but if it’s an indication that Froyo won’t appear for a while … well, Gingerbread might be out by the time that it shows up.


This is a pre-release build so it is quite possible that the look and feel will change somewhat between now and release. Hopefully Dell can get it out quickly (Engadget’s source says early next month for O2 customers). You can check out a video comparison of 2.1 and 1.6 on the Dell Streak, as well as some sample 720P footage at the source link below.


Source : Engadget Mobile


The Dell Streak is available on contract or pre-pay from O2 UK unlocked from Carphone Warehouse or from Dell UK. It will be available in the USA … whenever Dell/AT&T get around to it.