Dell Streak, iPad, or none of the above?

1:1 computing doesn't have to mean laptops for everyone. Is the new Dell Streak the answer? How about the iPad? Or are you still waiting for the next big thing?
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

Isn't this what we all wanted? 1:1 devices that can support rich, interactive learning and always-on access to the web? As many have noted, 1:1 doesn't have to mean laptops all around. Rather, it means a device that students always have, use intuitively and naturally, and integrate into learning at school and at home. For some, that's a full-blown laptop.  For others, it's a netbook or access to a cloud-based virtual appliance.  For many, it will be a tablet.

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Android tablet army starts to form

As ZDNet's Rachel King wrote this morning,

Dell has released a vague timeline of sorts for the global release of the Dell Streak, starting across the pond with O2 UK in early June.

Formerly known as the Mini 5, the 5-inch touchscreen tablet computer will belong to O2 exclusively in the United Kingdom, with a roll-out across Europe to follow. The U.S. finishes last with a commercial debut “later this summer.”

Also see

Dell Mini 5 tablet: Dell's answer to the Apple iPad?

So will kids be Streaking in the fall? (sorry, click here and I'll stop being punny)

The question is, will the Mini 5 (now known as the Streak), be in kids' hands this fall? It's coming just in time, hitting our shores in that elusive late-summer time frame.  Since it's running Android, integration with Google Apps will be very tight for schools that have adopted Apps for Education and Android 2.2, with its support for Flash, may actually be a more natural choice for students accessing educational resources online (many animations and educational sites use Flash).

Here's my problem with the Streak, the iPad, the iPod Touch, and most smartphones, though.  Because they are app-based rather than OS-based, students will still be limited in terms of what they can create.  Sure, the limited version of iWork on the iPad will let them create and edit documents fairly well and mobile editing capabilities are on the way (some are already here, with many more to come) for Google Docs.  Students can access and create content on blogs and wikis as well, which may be enough.

I'm not convinced, though, that many districts will be able to leave client-based software behind yet or that students won't want to make and present richer slide shows than either Android or the iPhone OS will allow.

I have no doubt that far more robust apps are on their way for both Android and the iPhone OS. But I wonder if my 1:1 dollars might not be better spent on a Windows- or Ubuntu-based slate (they're coming, I'm sure, despite HP's defection to WebOS), a netbook, or even one of the new CULV laptops that Intel announced this week.

We're close here, folks. So close to a 1:1 revolution that I can taste it. But not this fall. Am I wrong? Talk back below and let me know.

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