Samsung's Android 2.2. Galaxy Tab Coming to All Four Carriers
The Samsung Galaxy Tab blitz is underway as the mobile vendor preps for a fall release of the Android 2.2. tablet on all four major U.S. carriers. Samsung's mobile device is already being billed as a top challenger to the iPad, which currently runs only on the AT&T network, and sports additional features Apple's tablet lacks, such as mobile video chat, Adobe Flash 10.1 support and high-definition video playback at 1080p resolution -- the iPad's is 720p. The official announcement of the was made yesterday, though the carriers and Samsung Mobile have yet to disclose any details on exact launch dates and pricing. It appears that Samsung is positioning the 13.4-ounce Galaxy Tab as a more powerful, yet lighter consumer alternative to the iPad, which has a bigger screen at almost 10-inches but weighs 25.6-ounces. "The 7-inch display and thin, lightweight design, combined with premium content and productivity tools makes the Galaxy Tab a true mobile tablet that is as comfortable to use standing on a crowded train as it is relaxing on the couch at home. The Galaxy Tab is perfect for watching a movie, reading an e-book or catching up with your favorite TV shows or chatting with an old friend. Plus, the Tab's design makes it completely pocketable in your pants or jacket," Omar Khan, chief strategy officer for Samsung Mobile, said in a statement.
While it remains to be seen if a tablet with a 7-inch display will be well suited for business use, the specs are impressive. Powered by Android 2.2, or Froyo, the Samsung Galaxy Tab has a 7-inch multitouch screen, front- and rear-facing cameras, a 1Ghz processor, up to 64GB of storage, 3G, Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi connectivity. In addition to Android 2.2., the Samsung Galaxy Tab includes Exchange Active Sync support, a social hub that centralizes SMS, IM, calendar and e-mail and Google Calendar, Facebook events and Outlook support. Because it's a Google-certified device, it also includes services such as Google Maps, Latitude, Places and navigation. Other user interface features include Swype text input tools, the Layar augmented reality browser and of course access to the Android Market and Samsung's online store for mobile apps. Recent analyst reports are citing Android as surpassing rival mobile operating platforms for the first time, as industry watchers wait to see if any of the new Android tablets coming out over the next few months will be serious challengers to Apple's iPad.
But one analyst says while there are marked differences between the two, it's too early to speculate on the Galaxy Tab's potential for success. The Tab does have several areas of differentiation relative to the iPad -- it is smaller, lighter, has dual cameras, supports Adobe Flash in the browser, and will be available across all four US carriers for 3G access, not just AT&T. The iPad clearly has its own advantages -- it is far more versatile given the tens of thousands of iPad-specific apps, iTunes has a lot more content than MediaHub, and it is already wildly popular. The problem on the Tab is that we may have an official press release, but it lacks key pricing and service plan information. It is impossible to properly assess the value proposition without that," Avi Greengart, lead mobile analyst at Current Analysis, told EnterpriseMobileToday.com. The official announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Tab comes on the heels of five Android 2.2. tablets from Archos and soon after a major update to the mobile Linux operating system to version 2.2. Android 2.2 includes more mobile security features, such as support for complex passwords and policies, remote wipe and the ability to remotely lock the device to secure data if the mobile device is lost or stolen. It also includes support for Exchange calendars, Adobe Flash as well as tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality, and, overall, performs much faster. The mobile OS also now allows for application storage on external devices and a more fluid mobile app market experience. In addition to the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the five-pack from Archos, the Dell Streak, ViewSonic's dual-boot mobile device and ViewPad 7, and the Cisco Cius are all new tablet PCs running Android.