Samsung Electronics continued its busy showing at IFA in Berlin Sept. 1, unveiling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet and Samsung Galaxy Note, a communications device with an emphasis on note-taking.
Running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) latest Android 3.2 "Honeycomb" operating system and powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the first tablet to use Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus display.
This technology has wooed users to the Samsung Galaxy S II smartphones in Korea, Japan and Europe, where the handsets totaled 5 million in sales in under three months.
The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is only .31 inches thick and weighs around three-quarters of a pound, which should please users who eyed the HTC Flyer, Evo View 4G or other 7-inch Android tablets.
Android 3.2 provides some interesting perks for developers and users. The build offers a compatibility mode to let developers adapt apps written for Android's 2.x smartphone branch so they fit on the entire screen without the disproportionate view.
Tab 7.7 also runs the Samsung TouchWiz user interface that is proving popular on the Tab 10.1 and Tab 8.9 model. TouchWiz boasts a Live Panel menu to let users add their own digital pictures to the home screen of Tab 7.7 with digital pictures, as well as a "Mini Apps" tray of features such as task manager, calendar and music.
Samsung is portraying the Tab 7.7 as a multimedia monster, with full HD playback in 1080p and a DivX multi codec. The tablet also offer Universal Remote Control functionality, allowing users to control all of their home entertainment devices, including TV, set-top box, DVD, Blu-ray player and AV audio system.
The Tab 7.7, whose memory is expandable up to 32GB for microSD cards, runs on HSPA+ 21M bps network and features a 5,100 mAh battery for up to 10 hours of video playback. Engadget offers this hands-on video of the slate here.
Samsung's choice of a 7.7-inch display is interesting. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in October consumers wouldn't be interested in buying a 7-inch tab because it's a tweener design, sitting between a smartphone and a tablet. The Tab 8.9 is effectively now Samsung's tweener model.
Samsung's other highlight mobile Android gadget at IFA Thursday was the Galaxy Note. This gadget is an Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" smartphone that offers a 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED (1280 x 800 resolution) display powered by a 1.4 GHz processor and capable of running on HSPA+ and LTE networks.
The device maker said the display will provide the best viewing experience for video, photo, document and Web browsing, offering deep blacks and bright colors, and a 180 degree viewing angle for shared, side-by-side viewing.
The handset also comes with the S Pen, a digital pen that lets users take notes, create sketches and artwork. Pictures, voice recordings, typed text, handwritten notes or drawings can all be converted to a memo for editing and sharing. This functionality is one of the endearing features of the HTC Flyer and HTC Evo View 4G, enabled as it is by the HTC Scribe pen.
There is also an S Planner, a professional planning tool that integrates the phone's to-do list and schedule.
Samsung argues the larger screen will allow users "to do more tasks to create and consume more, with minimum scrolling and screen transitions, while on the go." This may be true, but the last 5-inch Android device--the Dell Streak--failed miserably.
Granted that gadget was bulky and unwieldy--never a good combination in a portable consumer electronics device--but the pattern has been set: Consumers tend to prefer thin, light and nimble smartphones.
Samsung hopes its Galaxy Note, which is 9.65 mm or .38 inches thin, is thin enough for users to appreciate.