Samsung, as expected, introduced two new Galaxy Tab devices at the CTIA Wireless 2011 conference March 22, a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and a Galaxy Tab 8.9-which at 8.6mm is the "world's thinnest mobile tablet," according to Samsung.
Was Samsung Executive Vice President Lee Don-Joo having a laugh when, after seeing the Apple iPad 2, he suggested that Samsung might have to rethink a few things? "We will have to improve the parts that are inadequate," he reportedly told Physorg.com. "Apple made it very thin."
It appears the Korean company had quite the iPad competitors up its sleeves.
"The Galaxy Tab 10.2 and 8.9 are remarkable examples of Samsung's constant innovation and show our dedication to designing premium tablets that fit the unique needs of consumers around the world," JK Shin, president and head of Samsung's Mobile Communications Business, said in a statement. "By combining Samsung's innovations in design and display with our exciting user experience, we've created a new class of products that will lead the tablet market."
Both new Galaxy Tabs run Google's Android 3.0, known as "Honeycomb," feature 1GHz dual-core processors, support HSPA+ network speeds-the flavor of 4G currently offered by AT&T and T-Mobile-and offer WiFi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth connectivity. A front-facing 2-megapixel camera and a rear-facing 3-megapixel camera with 720p video capabilities are also in both models.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 weighs just 1.31 pounds, again besting the iPad 2 by a fraction of a pound. A media-savvy device designed for consumers, it features surround-sound stereo speakers and support for Adobe's Flash 10.2-another feature the iPad notoriously does without.
The 8.9-as Samsung hinted at in a recent teaser-additionally has an enterprise clientele in mind. "Whether writing emails on a trip or reading an ebook on the couch, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 provides the ultimate tablet experience without compromising mobility," Samsung said in a statement.
Both tablets also feature Samsung's TouchWiz user interface and a Live Panel menu that lets users customize their home screens with images and widgets for Websites and live feeds for social networks like Facebook. Another feature of the interface is called the "Mini Apps Tray."
"The interface includes an application tray of commonly used features such as task manager, calendar and music player which can be launched while other major applications are also in use, including large file downloads and document editing," Samsung said in its statement.
They also include Readers Hub and a Music Hub, connecting users with more than 2.2 million books, thousands of newspapers and magazines, and 13 million songs, while a Social Hub aggregates email, instant messaging, contacts, calendar and social-networking details into a single, streamlined interface.
Finally, designed in collaboration with enterprise giants Cisco Systems, Sybase, SAP and Citrix Systems, the newest Galaxy Tabs also feature security options aimed to please IT managers. As Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted when introducing the iPad 2 last month, tablets are being enthusiastically embraced by enterprises across all verticals, from health care to education.
The newest Samsung tablets face a market that's grown still more crowded since it launched its 7-inch Galaxy Tab-which, though it was reported to have sold well, didn't sell quite as well as was first suggested, Samsung clarified during a late-January earnings call.
In addition to the iPad 2, the newest Samsungs will face the Motorola Xoom-the first Honeycomb-running tablet to launch-and the BlackBerry PlayBook, which Research In Motion finally revealed will go on sale April 19 starting at $499. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint will all offer it, in addition to several retailers and smaller carriers.
Samsung hasn't yet revealed pricing details or when-or where-the new tablets will go on sale.