Can You Make a Phone Call From a Dell Tablet?

Of the three lines of tablet computers produced by Dell -- the Streak, Inspiron Duo and Latitude XT3 -- only the original Streak tablet is capable of placing and receiving phone calls. Released in May 2010, the Streak accesses the 2G and 3G wireless networks for cellular transmissions, which include voice and data content. The tablet also comes with an assortment of other features that are typically contained only by mobile phones.

  1. Technology

    • The Dell Streak uses Global System for Mobile Communications, or GSM, technology to access the 2G wireless network and High-Speed Downlink Packet Access technology to access the 3G network. The Streak uses these technologies to transmit data, including voice data, on the 850, 900, 1,800, 1,900 and 2,100 radio frequencies to its network. Like mobile phones with GSM technology, the Dell Streak requires a subscriber identity module, or SIM, card to access its wireless service provider’s networks. Placing a phone call using the Streak is done in the same manner as placing one on a mobile phone.

    Messaging

    • Because it is capable of cellular functionality, the Dell Streak tablet is also able to send and receive Short Message Service messages, better known as text messages, and Multimedia Messaging Service messages. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, including letters, numerals and punctuation, and text-only content. MMS messages, on the other hand, support text, picture, video and voice content. Like cellular phone calls, these messages are transmitted along the 2G and 3G wireless networks -- another feature that is typically reserved for mobile phones.

    GPS

    • Although most tablet computers come with standalone GPS applications, the Dell Streak features an assisted GPS application that, unlike standalone GPS systems, uses a combination of cellular tower and satellite signals to provide navigational functionality. A-GPS technology is available on the Streak because of its ability to access and use cellular towers for transmitting data, such as phone calls. The tablet’s A-GPS feature uses the device’s location-based services feature, which provides contact information for nearby emergency and commercial services, such as hospitals, police stations, gas stations and restaurants.

    Voice Features

    • You can use the Dell Streak’s voice features to maximize the tablet’s phone-calling capabilities. For instance, the Streak comes with a voice-activated calling application that responds to verbal commands, such as “Call home” by automatically dialing the number of the spoken contact. The A-GPS application also responds to voice input, such as “Find nearby gas stations” when spoken while using the device’s navigational applications. In essence, the Dell Streak is a mobile phone-tablet-computer hybrid, offering many of the features found on mobile phones only and the functionality of a full-sized tablet computer in a single package.

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