Dell’s Mini 5 is making the rounds at Mobile World Congress and Carrypad caught it on camera. Interestingly, the device was only held by the Dell representative, who gave a run down on the device. When I first heard about the Mini 5, I didn’t expect the device to offer cellular voice capabilities, but based on the video, it sounds like it will when paired with a Bluetooth headset. That makes sense since you probably don’t want to hold that 5″ display next to your face. The Dell rep indicated a screen resolution of 800 x 400 for the display, but that doesn’t sound right. I suspect it’s actually 800 x 480 or 854 by 480. 720p video playback looks solid on the device although with the screen resolution, true 720p video has to be scaled down.
Powering the Mini 5 is the same Qualcomm 1 GHz Snapdragon found in my Nexus One, so from a performance standpoint, I’d expect it to be comparable, although the amount of memory in the Mini 5 could vary the experience. Dell decided to emulate HTC a little by adding a custom user interface that rides atop the stock Android experience. It’s difficult to evaluate the UI with just a few minutes of observation, but it’s clear that Dell is taking advantage of Android’s widget support. I also noticed a port on the bottom that could be for docking, but no mention was made of such a peripheral.
I’m a little surprised that the availability quoted was summer of this year and it makes me wonder what version of Android will be on the final device. By then, I’d expect at least one, if not two, more Android releases. Once the device does hit the market, folks can purchase it direct through Dell or from a carrier. That means this isn’t a standalone MID, but will likely require a contract here in the U.S. Of course, Dell could sell it direct at full price and let you add a SIM card, just like Google does with the Nexus One.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Mini 5 isn’t about the device itself. Dell said the Mini 5 is the first in a family of devices. I take that to mean larger devices in the Mini line will appear, in order to compete with tablets in the 7″ to 10″ range. Obviously, Apple’s iPad comes to mind, as do many Android tablets, but what about that HP slate? That’s a 7-incher but runs a full desktop operating system, and I wouldn’t expect cellular voice support. Does the Dell Mini 5 or a theoretical Mini 7 sound more or less appealing than a UMPC?