New Android Tablet, Samsung Galaxy Tab.Samsung's plans to create the Galaxy Tab Google Android tablet can't come as much of a surprise at this point, but today's announcement at IFA 2010 marks the first time we're seeing official specs from the company.
When Google releases Android 3.0, a.k.a. "Honeycomb," it's going to be optimized for tablets, and it's going to have strict hardware requirements, PC Mag reports.
PC Mag spoke with Bobby Cha, managing director of Korean electronics company, Enspert. Cha says Honeycomb with require dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 chips.
Official pricing is still unknown, but we now know that the device is due to hit European markets in mid-September, and the U.S. and Asia by year's end. The Galaxy Tab's size and specs put it somewhere between the phone-like Dell Streak and the magazine-size Apple iPad. The Tab uses a 7-inch capacitive touch screen with a 1,024x600 Wide Super VGA (WSVGA) resolution. It ships with Android 2.2 (Froyo), the complete Google apps Market, Flash 10.1, 16GB or 32GB of memory, GPS, and integrated sensors, such as a gyroscope, accelerometer, light sensor, and geomagnetic sensor.
Samsung Galaxy Tab (photos)
The whole thing runs on an ARM Cortex A8 1GHz applications processor, tied to a PowerVR SGX540 graphics processor. If you're feeling photogenic, a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back includes auto-focus and an LED flash and records video up to 720x480. A video chat-compatible camera on the front of the Tab uses a 1.3 megapixel VGA resolution to beam your pretty mug to your friends and family.
Battery life is rated at an impressive 7 hours of continuous video playback.
As far as connectivity goes, the Tab promises Wi-Fi compatibility up to 802.11n, as well as cellular 2.5G (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) and 3G (HSUPA 5.76Mbps, HSDPA 7.2Mbps). Specific carrier agreements have not been announced.
Are we excited to get our hands on one? You bet your sweet bippy. But without concrete pricing or a U.S. launch date, we're just going to try and play it cool for now
- Android 2.2 running TouchWiz 3.0
- 7-inch TFT LCD with 1024 x 600 resolution (WSVGA)
- Weighs 380 grams
- 1GHz Cortex A8 processor
- 16GB or 32GB internal storage
- microSD expansion for up to 32GB additional storage
- Front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera and rear 3 megapixel camera with flash
- 4,000mAh battery
- 3G data / voice (there's a speakerphone and Bluetooth for phone calls, but no earpiece)
- 5GHz dual-band 802.11n WiFi
- Standard back color is white, carriers might offer different colors
- Full HD video playback
- There's a 30-pin dock connector on the bottom that allows for HDMI, USB, and docking accessories (a car dock at least is planned)
By all accounts Android isn't really "ready" for tablets. It's still a phone OS being asked to do a big screen job, but while we could see room for improvement, we'd say Samsung has shored up enough of Android's deficiencies with its own custom skin and apps to make the OS thoroughly palatable in this form factor. TouchWiz 3.0 still does have a bit of a "iPhone for kids" flavor to it, but props to Samsung for the depth and consistency of its UI layer.
What's more impressive are the apps Samsung built specifically to take advantage of the screen size and resolution, including a very attractive calendar app, an email app that has a dual pane view in landscape (of a style that seems unapologetically borrowed from the iPad), a similar messaging app, a Media Hub music store and player (not aimed at the US, most likely), an e-reading launcher app (that points to PressDisplay for newspapers, Kobo for e-books, and Zinio for magazines), and more. A custom dialer app includes fancy contact browsing and a video call button right up front. Samsung supports the UMTS video calling standard, but since that's not a thing in the US, we'll have to look to third party providers such as Qik to get our video calling on.
On the third party front, Samsung says that apps which were developed within Google's UI guidelines should scale up correctly, but others might need to be reworked. We'll have to see for ourselves how well Joe the Plumber's apps handle the new resolution, but we don't have much reason to fear it so far -- the few apps we saw that looked to be scaled up instead of 1024 x 600-specific looked and worked just fine.