Dell's now-defunct 5-inch Streak tablet never had a chance

After only a little more than a year, the 5-inch Android-based Dell Streak tablet is no more.

Without any pomp, circumstance or real announcement, Dell has bid adieu to its 5-inch Streak tablet.

Instead, there is simply a farewell banner on the product page where the Android tablet once sold with the message, "It's been a great ride."

But has it really? Originally known as the Mini, the 5-inch Streak was Dell's first real foray into the consumer tablet market as we know it today. It first popped up in early 2010, and StreakSmart reports that the device has been out of stock for some time now. That is not likely due to high customer demand.

With a 5-inch display, the Dell Streak fell into an awkward zone between a smartphone and a tablet. It was far too big to be a smartphone as it couldn't really fit in pants pockets. The display was just half an inch larger than AT&T's Samsung Infuse 4G, which boasts a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED screen. I found the Infuse to already be the breaking point of how large a smartphone could get.

Inversely, the 7-inch mark is probably the lowest that a tablet manufacturer can produce at this point and expect to sell units to end users. That hovers around the perfect size for a consumer who wants to use their tablets for reading books, some basic browsing and occasional video streaming/playback. It's also the most portable option for tablets as it can fit in just about any bag, purse or knapsack that one might use on a regular basis. It's still a bit too small for active productivity and longer video playback times, but it's still suitable.

Thus, although it might have been worth a shot and taught the industry a lesson about tablets and their appropriate sizes, the 5-inch Streak never had a chance to make it big.

For those who are just desperate to get their hands on a Dell Streak tablet at all, you can still get the more reasonably sized 7-inch, 4G-enabled Streak. A Honeycomb-based 10-inch edition was hinted at during CES 2011 earlier this year, and the professional version of that variant already sprouted in China in July.