The rumours have been circling for a while now, coming further and further to the fore with each passing week, seemingly, and finally the tablet announcement is official from Samsung. It seems only a few minutes since the release of the Samsung Galaxy Tab last year, as it does with the original iPad, but already the second rendition has arrived. In two forms.
The first is the Galaxy Tab 8.9, which you guessed it… has an 8.9″ display and is the smaller of the two. Though having said that, it is only the diagonal measurement to which this applies, as both models are just .33″ thick, meaning they are indeed a single 0.01 of an inch thinner than the iPad 2, which is impressively thin itself. The larger of the two, though, is the 10.1″ inch tab, obviously the more premium model. Glad to see Samsung has steered clear of another 7-inch tablet which, let’s face it, isn’t the ideal size.
Internally, both tablets are identical, both packing 1GHz dual-core processors, which is again pretty familiar and seems to be becoming the standard for 2011 tabs. It is widely assumed that this will be NVIDIA’s Tegra offering, as this would remain consistent with all the other Honeycomb tablets around, of which these are going to be two.
The 8.9″ Tab is going to be packing 16GB of internal storage, whilst it’s larger sibling will also be available in a 32GB variety, and with a moderately improved battery capacity.
As I touched upon above, both tablets will become part of the Android 3.0 ‘Honeycomb’ family, meaning that it is bang up to date with Google’s latest and greatest tablet OS, though how long it will stay that was is doubtful if previous form is anything to go by.
Interestingly, and I was put off by this at first, both tablets will be the first to stray away from the standard 3.0 UI, with Samsung opting to implements its own Touchwiz UI on top of Honeycomb. But this is a new Touchwiz. Touchwiz UX.
Essentially, it doesn’t appear to change an awful lot, though what it does definitely improve is the possibility of resizing widgets on the homescreen, and I’ve no doubt that will be useful at some point. Samsung also claims that this will work well with Google’s own widgets, too, so it’s not functionality that is restricted to Samsung’s own, usually poor, offerings.
There’s also another quick launcher added to Honeycomb, which is hidden away at the bottom of the screen, though Honeycomb does of course come with its own app launcher, making this addition apparently redundant upon arrival.
According to Engadget, Samsung has decided that both models will launch in some regions without Touchwiz UX, and it would be delivered via an update at a later date. This is of course a good thing, as it undoubtedly makes it easier for the Android development community to keep a stock version of 3.0 working on the Galaxy Tab past whatever date that update might arrive on.
Pricing and Availability
Engadget has also reported that the US pricing of the devices will be $499 for a 16GB WiFi only 8.9″ model, with pricing rising incrementally from there. We will keep you informed when the UK pricing becomes clearer from Samsung, though it shouldn’t be too far from that figure, only in Sterling.
Vodafone is set to be the exclusive carrier for the devices upon launch in the UK.
Do these new Samsung Galaxy Tabs provide a tempting alternative to the iPad 2 for you? Or do you feel that the Apple tablet is still the best out there?