Samsung attacks the iPad - Update
Source: Samsung Many of the facts about Samsung's Galaxy Tab Android tablet were already available before IFA, but today's presentation at the consumer electronics fair in Berlin did offer a further few surprises: The 7 inch device includes a fully functional mobile phone and could, therefore, also be regarded as a giant smartphone. This also means that it meets the access criteria Google has stipulated for the Android Market – and that users can conveniently tap into a vast selection of apps, which is not the case with most of the other Android tablets currently available.
The tablet's display has a resolution of 1024x600 and offers a better overview than most smartphones. It has a "standard" LCD screen, not the Super-AMOLED display which was previous speculated – Samsung said that this is due to cost considerations.
But even without it, the Galaxy Tab is no bargain: €800 is the price tag on the contract-free 16 Gbyte variant, which is the same price as Apple's iPad with 3G UMTS version with 64 Gbytes. Samsung confirmed that all four large German mobile telephony providers will offer the Galaxy Tab. The tab is scheduled to be released in early October.
In a short test, The H's associates in Germany at heise online liked the bright display with its vibrant colours. Its speed when starting apps, scrolling or zooming, and when rendering animations always matched that of current Apple devices and fast Android devices such as the Galaxy S. In other words: no jerking.
The capacitive touch screen and sensor keys respond reliably, and Samsung's TouchWiz user interface requires no guessing and soon becomes familiar. As is customary in Android 2.2, multi-touch gestures work in the browser and in other apps.
Samsung has included all current Google apps (such as a Flash player, tethering, mail, maps, navigation and voice searching), but also includes some of its own programs: Music is available at the Music Hub, while newspapers, magazines and books are available at the Readers Hub.
E-books can be read in another app which is very similar to Apple's iBooks. Books appear in a virtual wooden bookcase, and there is a nice animation when flipping pages. Samsung has named Libri as one of its e-book suppliers and plans to announce further suppliers soon.
In terms of hardware, the Galaxy Tab provides everything already familiar from current high-end smartphones such as the iPhone 4, the Dell Streak or the Galaxy S: on the back, there is a 3.2 megapixel camera with a flash, on the front a camera for video calls. Inside, it has a 1 GHz CPU, a UMTS module with HSPA and a GPS. A cable headset is included, while the accessories range offers docking stations with HDMI output and a car mount at an extra charge.
The internal 16 Gbytes of memory can be expanded via microSD cards. A version with 32 Gbytes of internal memory is expected to be released at a later date. At only 380 grams, the Galaxy Tab weighs about half as much as the iPad with 3G, although the iPad offers a larger display.
Despite the difference in size: The co-operations with content providers and the apps for reading, music and videos demonstrate that Samsung wants the Galaxy Tab to cover the same areas of use as Apple's iPad. Therefore, the Galaxy Tab is currently the latest iPad competitor with the biggest potential for success. At least for now: many more Android tablets are due to make their debut at the IFA fair.
Update (06-09-10): Vodafone UK has confirmed that it will be carrying the Galaxy Tab. However, a specific release date and pricing have yet to be confirmed.