BARCELONA-Samsung kicked off what is likely to be a tablet-heavy Mobile World Congress convention with the release of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer, powered by Google's Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system and offering a 10.1-inch touch screen. Samsung and Vodafone partnered on the device, designed to compete with a slew of devices in the burgeoning tablet market, most notable Apple's wildly successful iPad.
The device also includes an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with Auto Focus and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera which lets users capture experiences with full HD record and play. With the Android browser and Flash 10.1 capability, the tablet also offers dual surround-sound speakers. A 1GHz Dual Core application processor, low power DDR2 memory and 6860mAh battery power the Tab 10.1. The tablet offers an alternative to the company's 7-inch screen Galaxy Tab, launched late last year.
In addition, the Honeycomb operating system is the first Android platform designed with tablet computing specifically in mind. Samsung's original Tab used version 2.2, codenamed FroYo. Honeycomb is designed to support larger screen devices and introduces a slew of new user interface features, including home screen customization, widgets and a redesigned soft keyboard, and supports multicore processors and hardware acceleration for graphics.
"As a leader in the Android-powered tablet market, Samsung is committed to providing a variety of feature-rich, always-on devices," said DJ Lee, Samsung's executive vice president and head of sales and marketing. "The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a valuable addition to our expanding portfolio of smart media devices. Sporting a large 10.1 screen and dual surround-sound speakers, it enables users to enjoy multimedia to the maximum extent without having to compromise mobility."
Samsung has also included HSPA+ 21M bps, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity to support enhanced mobile download speeds and reduce data transfer times. At just 1.3 pounds in weight and just under half an inch thick, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is designed to be lighter, slimmer and more portable than the previous tablet. The device comes with the option of 16GB or 32GB of storage.
Patrick Chomet, Vodafone's group director of terminals, said the company's customers in more than 20 markets around the world will be the first to get the Galaxy Tab 10.1 when it goes on sale this spring. "Samsung have produced a stylish, market-leading implementation of the new Android 3.0 platform which will be the first Honeycomb device to arrive in many of those markets," he said. "Vodafone's competitive data tariffs and reliable, high-speed networks make using the Galaxy Tab 10.1 a great experience."
Samsung has becoming something of a standard-bearer for Android tablets, following heavy promotions and the launch of the Galaxy Tab in dozens of countries, selling more than 2 million units. During the first half of 2011, IT research firm Strategy Analytics expects the Android OS to continue accounting for larger portions of the market. Earlier this year, IDC forecast 44.6 million tablets to ship in 2011-with U.S. sales accounting for nearly 40 percent of the total-and grow to 70.8 million units in 2012.