Samsung has finally revealed the Galaxy Tab, a tablet computer running Android 2.2 that will begin shipping in October in Europe. A launch date for the U.S. was not revealed. The tablet can be used to surf the Web, watch movies, read e-books, navigate using GPS — and even make phone calls, according to Samsung.The Galaxy Tab has a 7-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels, and a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor with 16GB of integrated storage. There is also a MicroSD card slot that can expand the storage capacity with another 32GB.
The higher resolution, compared to Android-based smartphones, is compatible with about 85 percent to 90 percent of applications on the Android Market, according to Samsung. The company is also working with developers of some of the most popular applications that don’t work to help them convert their applications, it said.
The screen is based on TFT, instead of AMOLED, which Samsung uses on some of its smartphones. The concession was made to lower the cost of the product and improve battery life, which should last up to eight hours, according to Samsung.
On the front is a 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls or conferencing, and on the back a 3-megapixel camera with a LED lamp. The Tab weighs 380 grams, and measures 19 centimeters by 12 cm by 1.2 cm.
The tablet’s lower weight and ability to make phone calls are two of the main advantages it has over Apple’s iPad, Samsung said. The Galaxy Tab is a product you use on the go, and the iPad is for the living room, Samsung said. The iPad has a 9.7-inch touchscreen and weighs up to 730 grams.
So far, Samsung doesn’t want to comment on pricing, but the tablet will be sold via operators with subsidies and monthly plans.
Users can connect to the Internet using HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) at up to 7.2M bps (download) or 5.76M bps (upload), or at even higher speeds over 802.11n Wi-Fi networks. When not surfing the Web, users can watch movies in a number of different formats, including DivX, Xvid, WMV and MPEG-4.The fact that the Tab is based on Android version 2.2 means it also has Adobe Flash 10.1.Other software on board includes Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 addition to the Android user interface and Social Hub, an application that collects messages from different social networks in one place. Samsung developed TouchWiz and Social Hub for its smartphones.
The Tab also will come with Hubs for accessing ebooks, magazines, newspapers, music and movies. The latter will only be available in the U.S. Samsung will install Layar, an augmented reality application, and Swype, which allows users to input text on a touchscreen by gliding their finger from one letter to another on a virtual keyboard, as well. For users who don’t like virtual keyboards, Samsung will also offer a hardware keyboard as an accessory.
The Galaxy Tab is the first, but not the last tablet from Samsung, which expects to launch a family of such products at different price points and sizes. Also, the Galaxy Tab will get a Gingerbread update, which is the next version of Android.