457480-500-344 ZDNet reports that Dell is positioning its new 5” Android-powered Streak device as part of its line of healthcare IT products. Too big to be a smartphone, too small to call a tablet, the Streak nonetheless fits perfectly in a lab coat pocket. Dell promises it will “integrate seamlessly” with its other healthcare products, and has a number of useful features that will make it a handy medical data companion.

Doctors have very particular information-technology needs, complicated by HIPAA laws that are very specific about what can be done with patient information. Given that Dell already has a prominent line of medical equipment and a great deal of experience with catering to those needs, it seems to have a good chance of gaining a foothold in the market.

The Dell Streak has been underwhelming a number of tech writers so far, with its smaller-than-iPad form factor and higher-than-iPad price. (For that matter, couldn’t they have picked a better name? What next, the Dell Smudge? Come to think of it, why is Apple using fingerprints in the logo for its new iPod line? You’d think they wouldn’t want to call attention to how smudgeable those screens are. But I digress.)

medicaltricorder Finding a niche for the Streak in the healthcare industry, which has already been looking at the iPad as a possible medical data display device, would help ease the pain if consumers are likewise underwhelmed.

Clearly, this is just the first step in the eventual development of Star Trek medical tricorders.