Did somebody wake up Dell’s designers?


After reportedly passing around prototypes of a phone that everyone passed on due to being to boring, Dell must have either stepped up their game or hired a new design team. A number of “leaks” have revealed some pretty stylish devices…

Let’s start with the worst, the Aero is plain when viewed from the front, and downright ugly from the side and back. It’s claim to fame is that it comes with a stylus and handwriting recognition. I’ve made my feelings on that clear, so I see this thing as ugly and old-fashioned. 

Then there’s the two tablets. The much-discussed Streak (a.k.a. the mini) and the Looking Glass. The Looking Glass has the cooler name, but with the same resolution as the Streak is kind of a waste of space. 

The Streak intrigues me quite a bit. There’s talk of a WiFi only model and, depending on the price, I just might snap one of these up. My biggest complaint is that it won’t ship for months, and even then will only have Android 2.0, with an upgrade to 2.1 schedule for September (by then, of course, the current version of Android will be…?). Point being my biggest beef with Android is there’s no consistent release to which one can expect to upgrade for any given device. Still, if this thing has decent performance it’d be a nice Android supplement to my mobile kit.

Going back to phones, there’s the Smoke. A permanent physical keyboard (“there whether you need it or not”), in portrait mode, no less, makes this undesirable for me. But the overall design is nice, and for those who can’t get over the software keyboard thing you’ve got an Android alternative. 

The Thunder is quite attractive, and promises Hulu, Flash 10.1, Facebook/Twitter tie-ins, Snapdragon processor, and more. My biggest concern with this phone is it’s long on promises. I have doubts about Flash, seems everyone is tying in social networking, and I think Hulu will be Flash-less before this thing is released anyway.

The Lightning is a Windows 7 Series phone. Another nice looking device with a slide-out keyboard may be the best of both worlds for some. Of course, who knows when W7S will be released, so this phone may be the farthest off of any of them. 

Finally, theres the Flash, pictured above, which I think is beautiful. Dell says it’s fashioned out of a piece of curved glass. Specs look good, and this will be another Android device. 

Even the lesser designed devices here have some character; they’re not just “cookie cutter” designs. Whether Dell can deliver them all remains to be seen, and whether they’ll have responsive performance, and decent build quality (not Dell’s long suit) is also greatly in question. Still, as far as vaporware goes (and I believe the Streak and Looking Glass are more than vapor), Dell gets high marks for effort. It remains to be seen how they’ll be graded for execution.

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