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Saturday, October 2, 2010

First impression: Samsung Galaxy Tab

 The Galaxy Tab, Samsung’s 7-inch tablet offering, has been something sites have been talking for some time now, but it really kicked off at IFA earlier this month. Even then it wasn’t a huge surprise–as expected it was an Android tablet, with Flash, that Samsung wanted to put up against Apple’s iPad.

Thursday, September 16th, Samsung held their US launch event which would reveal the last pieces of information everyone wanted to know–the US carriers and the price. It turns out that all four major US carriers will be offering the device but pricing information was not available.

Samsung skirted the issue by saying pricing would be up to the individual carriers and whether the device was sold on contract or not. Of course the larger point is that this device could be a hit at, say, $200, but could bomb spectacularly at $600 so the pricing is more than just a minor detail.

One thing to note–the Galaxy Tabs on hand were the “international version”. The tablet might be arriving soon, but Samsung didn’t have what would be the domestic offering. Check out the images in the gallery below to get a better look.

I spent a some time with the tablet and I was pretty happy with what I saw. The Tab is slim, portable, and nicely built. It’s not as impressively constructed as the iPad, but it has a quality feeling and I found it to be comfortable to hold. One of the night’s presenters was able to fit in the pocket of his sports jacket, proving its portability. Eschewing such formality I wasn’t able to duplicate the test, but I did notice that the Tab would be a great size to slip into a bag, to use on the train, or to fly with.

The Galaxy Tab was running Android 2.2 which is nice to see, even if it isn’t built specifically for the tablet form factor. This will certainly mean some annoyances down the road, but I didn’t notice anything last night that really bothered me. Rather, the tablet was snappy and responsive, just as you’d expect from a high-end Android-powered mobile phone. The good news here was that the Android Market and Google apps were still in place, so any fears of Google disowning the device seem to be unfounded.

The 7-inch display runs at 1024×600, which is higher than the 854×480 used on the growing crop of Android phones with larger displays. This causes some issues with apps, but rather than scaling them Samsung runs apps at their native size with borders in place around the app. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it works for now and it’s better than not having access to the apps at all.

Two things highlighted by Samsung last night were Qik and Media Hub. As far as Qik goes, the Galaxy Tab supports video conference calls. We tested it out last night and it worked well enough, though it definitely didn’t have the slick experience of FaceTime or the quality of Skype. That said, it’ll work in a pinch.

Samsung’s Media Hub is a video store where you can buy/rent content from a select group of providers, including NBC. It’s not based on Cinema Now or any other service, so it’s kind of a big deal for Samsung, but at the end of the day it’s just another content alternative with a lackluster selection.

Samsung’s surprise reveal with this offering was that by buying a title on one device allow you to share it with up to 5 other devices. This doesn’t work by an AirPlay-like streaming but rather by just redownloading the video on another Media Hub-capable device.

Another big point of the event was to highlight Flash. Yes, the Tab runs Adobe Flash, including the hardware-accelerated version, Flash 10.1. Everyone is probably tired of hearing about the Flash tablet situation so I’ll leave it at this: Flash on the GTab looks pretty good so far. I didn’t get to test much but the games demoed ran well enough and Flash sites worked. This won’t make or break the device, but it’s something for Android owners to brag about to their iPad-toting frenemies.

23 comments:

PEKLEVSKI said...

iPad rip off :D

Ratch said...

something to rival ipad!

Lumbah Jack said...

finally an ipad killer

Acou said...

i really hope galaxy tab beats the ipad eventually; android is so much more preferable and I believe it has multitouch.. overall a better product imo

troykan said...

well isnt that something!

Skutt Panda PO said...

thuch pad technology is the future
now need to learn what make whit this technology:)) no anly frame :)))

Max Steel said...

That thing looks sweet but I still need something with keyboard i feel like a dinosaur

AdmiralAngel said...

Looks like an iPad to me.

Stav88os said...

Cool story Bro!;)

Philosophizinator said...

This better be able to launch console emulators...

Freshman said...

followin you, dude, visit my blog and play flash games :D

comradejoker.blogspot.com/ said...

can't wait to see the tablet in person!

Politically Challenged. said...

Looks like a bigger version of my dell streak, still nice though :)

Randy Weezner said...

it'll fall

Crammarc said...

cool stuff

thecatzpajamas said...

mehhh i dont need this in my life

Travie said...

Once again, great info

Nailgun said...

Tech is just getting redic

Allen said...

The second I saw this, I thought iPad. But i guess everyone else did too..

Swift Love said...

hey, this is one of my more favorite posts from you :)

Mesty said...

Oh that does look good. The apple now has some competition in the market!
Mesty =)

Nikola Begedin said...

Looks nicer than the iPad to me, and Android s definitely a plus.

Alex DeLarge said...

how thick is that thing?

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