Five-inch Dell Streak may cost $549 without contract

Dell's five-inch "entertainment, social connection and navigation device" might be more portable than the iPad, but it may not cost a whole lot less—provided you don't want to get roped into a contract, at least. Engadget found out from a Dell blog post that the Streak will sell for $549 on its own and $299 with a two-year AT&T contract. The Dell blog post has subsequently disappeared, though. Oooh, intrigue.

In case you've been impervious to the Apple PR machine, the Wi-Fi-only iPad sells for $499, and the version with 3G connectivity costs $629. AT&T offers $14.99- and $25-a-month 3G data plans for the latter, but there are no contracts involved. Users just pay for the service on a month-to-month basis.

Dell admittedly has the portability advantage with the Streak, and the product page hints that the device lets you make phone calls—a feature missing from the iPad's repertoire. Call me old-fashioned, but a $300, jumbo-sized smart phone with a social networking veneer seems even less appealing to me than the iPad. What's the point if you already have a smart phone?

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