Google I/O is really shaping up to be Christmas in May.
Last year it was a free HTC Evo 4G. This year, it's a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 limited edition tablet and a free Verizon mobile hotspot and SIM card. See the Tab unboxed:
What will it be next year? One of those Life Fitness bikes with a full complement of Android exercise applications? Maybe an Android-powered music hub?
Seriously, the Tab, which at 1.24 pounds managed to be lighter than the 1.32 pounds of the Apple iPad 2 and is every bit as thin at 0.34 inches, is a pretty device to behold and hold. The special Android back is what makes it a limited edition:
I waited until Wednesday morning to unbox it because I knew I wouldn't get work done Tuesday if I opened it. I didn't want to put the Motorola Xoom down, and with a thinner, sleeker, fresher Tab, I was even more cautious.
I was wise to lend my ear to my gut. The Tab delights, even if it had a funky GMT time zone when I booted it up here in San Francisco. Once I got past that issue, it was smooth sailing.
I would tell you about the software, except I've been too swamped with Android stuff. Besides, if you're familiar with Honeycomb from the Xoom, you're familiar with the Tab 10.1. The big difference is the hardware, which I find superior on the Tab 10.1.
The mass-market version of the Tab 10.1, which eWEEK saw here and is expected to ship June 8, will get the bump to the Android 3.1 build, which includes better widgets and the USB host API and Open Accessory API.
I can't wait, and I'm guessing neither can many of you. I'll have a full review of this nifty slate, along with the Verizon mobile hotspot and SIM, next week. Need a good review in the meantime? This CNET piece does the trick.
And if you really want the device, you can get it, albeit for twice the price on eBay.