Samsung Electronics will release its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet according to schedule, executives have said, according to the Korean Yonhap News Agency. The news follows a comment from Samsung Executive Vice President Lee Don-Joo, who reportedly had reacted to the introduction of the Apple iPad 2 by saying that Samsung "will have to improve parts [of the Galaxy Tab] that are inadequate."
Further suggesting that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is nearing its launch date, the tablet has appeared on the Website of the Federal Communications Commission, which last week gave the device its stamp of approval.
Apple introduced the iPad 2 March 2. Scheduled to begin selling March 11 on the Verizon Wireless and AT&T networks in addition to at Apple stores, the iPad 2 features a dual-core processor, called the A5 by Apple, that's twice as fast as the original iPad's, and graphics that are said to be nine times faster. While including front and back cameras for video calling, and a gyroscope-features left off of the original-the iPad 2 is lighter and thinner than the original, and thinner even than the iPhone 4.
"Apple made it very thin," Samsung's Lee reportedly said March 3, suggesting this was problematic for, if not just surprising to, Samsung.
In February, at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab 10.1, a new version of its popular 7-inch Galaxy Tab. The new model features a 10.1-inch display and supports Flash 10.1. Like a number of soon-to-launch iPad competitors, it runs Android 3.0, a version of the Google OS designed especially for tablets, and features a 1GHz application processor, as well as front- and rear-facing cameras.
Samsung is rumored to be planning to unveil an 8.9-inch version of the Galaxy Tab at a March 22 event in Orlando, Fla. On March 3, members of the media received invitations from Samsung with the mysterious phrasing: "What's your Tab life? 78910," and encouragement to join Samsung as "we experience a world of endless technological possibility."
If the iPad 2 wasn't an impetus for Samsung to pause and make improvements to planned tablets, it may still cause the company reconsider its pricing strategy.
"The 10-inch [tablet] was to be priced higher than the 7-inch, but we will have to think that over," Samsung's Lee had said, according to Yonhap. Apple, despite speeding up, slimming down and enriching the iPad 2 with new features, kept its tablet pricing the same.
Lee's comments led to some speculation that Samsung would consider delaying the launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to address the perceived problems. However, Samsung officials squelched those rumors March 5.
Samsung is hardly alone in looking to Apple for cues on the tablet market. Research In Motion plans to launch its PlayBook in a matter of weeks, Hewlett-Packard is rumored to be releasing its TouchPad in June, and Motorola has said that it considered the iPad 2 when deciding on pricing for its Xoom tablet.
Very likely, the looking goes both ways. Apple introduced the iPad 2 just a day before the planned launch of the Motorola Xoom-a move that many assume was designed to sway consumers with an eye on the Android-running tablet that analysts suggest may be Apple's biggest competition.
While the impact of the Apple maneuver is yet unknown, early Xoom sales were "off to a good start," according to Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha. Speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference Feb. 28, Jha nonetheless declined to share early sales figures.