Can Samsung Solve the 5-Inch Tablet’s Identity Crisis?

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In the world of tablets, 10-inch screens reign supreme, but that hasn’t stopped some companies from dabbling in different shapes and sizes. Samsung, HTC, Dell and Research in Motion have all tried 7-inch tablets. Vizio’s going to market with an 8-inch tablet soon. LG rocked the 8.9-inch screen with the T-Mobile G-Slate. And you may recall the JooJoo, a 12-inch Internet tablet that was roundly ignored after launch.

But no screen size is so perplexing as the 5-incher. Could be a phone. Could be a tablet. Nobody knows for sure. That’s not stopping Samsung from taking a crack at it, at least according to the rumor mill.

(MORE: Tablets: ‘Why Should Somebody Buy This Instead of an iPad?’)

From Yahoo News Korea comes word of the Samsung Galaxy Q, an Android-powered tablet that will reportedly have a 5.3-inch screen. If the rumor is accurate, Samsung will show off the Galaxy Q—and presumably have a lot more details—at the IFA conference in Berlin this September.

Samsung wouldn’t be the first to give the 5-inch tablet a whirl. Dell took a shot last year with the Dell Streak, and the identity crisis was evident from the start. Although Dell called it a tablet, AT&T sold a subsidized version with both voice and data plans—something U.S. wireless carriers have been unwilling to do with larger slates.

But the Streak had a bigger problem: Without a contract, it cost $550 at launch, which is expensive for a tiny tablet. Samsung might have a better shot if the Galaxy Q is a couple hundred dollars cheaper.

Even so, these tabletphones may not scratch any particular consumer itch. If you want a big smartphone, you can already buy Samsung’s Infuse 4G from AT&T (pictured), which has a 4.5-inch screen and is therefore more likely to fit your pocket. And for months, Samsung has been promising to launch the Galaxy S WiFi 5.0, an iPod Touch-like Android media player with a 5-inch screen. I’m starting to think Samsung doesn’t know what to do with this device size, either. Eventually, someone will figure it out.

MORE: AT&T’s Samsung Infuse 4G: Big 4.5-inch Screen, Slim Profile