Samsung used its Unpacked event at CTIA March 22 to discuss the upcoming Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1. As one might expect, the former features an 8.9-inch display, while the latter comes with a 10.1-inch screen.
Aside from that, both tablets are quite similar, running a dual-core processor, Android 3.0 Honeycomb and coming with what Samsung said are the thinnest bodies in the business.
As with other tablet releases as of late, some have already said that the new Galaxy Tabs Samsung unveiled could be “iPad 2 killers.” They say that the devices feature a nice operating system, similar specifications as the iPad 2 along with a price tag that consumers can live with. All in all, they say, they have a real shot at taking down Apple’s tablet.
However, those folks are wrong. The Galaxy Tabs Samsung showed off certainly are nice. And they might be compelling options for Android seekers. But for everyone else, they fall short against the iPad 2. There is no chance that those devices will be able to supplant Apple’s tablet as the dominant force in that market.
1. Android 3.0 -Honeycomb’ is a problem
Google’s Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” platform offers more potential than any other platform in the mobile market. It has fully tabbed browsing and vastly improved multitasking, among several other important features that make it ideal on paper. But when people actually try out Honeycomb, they’re left disappointed. As a Global Equities Research spokesperson said of Honeycomb recently, it’s “unstable and poorly designed.” Others have said it was released before it’s ready. All that combines to make the operating system a disappointment. The worst part is that it’s running on Samsung’s 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab units. That doesn’t bode well for Samsung’s tablets.
2. The apps issue
As Apple CEO Steve Jobs pointed out at his March 2 event unveiling the iPad 2, his company’s tablet has more than 65,000 applications available to it. Tablets running Android 3.0 Honeycomb at the time, however, had just 100 applications available to them. That’s a major discrepancy and it could be one of the main reasons Samsung’s tablets won’t be able to keep up with the iPad 2. Apps are integral to the experience of using tablets. Once consumers find out that there are so few available applications on Android tablets, it’s likely that few will choose those devices over the iPad 2.
3. It’s coming off a disappointment
One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of the Galaxy Tab is that the 7-inch version has not performed well at retail. Earlier this year, reports surfaced claiming the company shipped 2 million 7-inch Tab units to store shelves since the device’s launch late last year. But out of that, a much smaller number were actually sold. Meanwhile, Apple sold 15 million iPad units last year. In other words, Samsung has a long way to go to catch up to Apple.
4. It doesn’t have FaceTime
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab units come with the ability for users to engage in video conferencing. However, they won’t support the key technology that’s making the iPad 2 all the more appealing: FaceTime. Apple’s video-conferencing service is available to the iPhone, Macs and iPod Touch, in addition to the iPad 2. It’s a full-fledged video-streaming service that’s gaining popularity extremely quickly. The Galaxy Tab and the iPad 2 might both have video conferencing, but Apple’s software sets its device apart.
The Galaxy Tabs Look Like Me-Too Models
5. The specs aren’t better
The latest Samsung Galaxy Tab devices would have a much better chance of besting the iPad 2 if they delivered some kind of performance boost over Apple’s alternative. Unfortunately for Samsung, they don’t. Like the iPad 2, the 8.9- and 10.1-inch Galaxy Tabs come with a dual-core processor. Moreover, the devices come in 16GB and 32GB models. The iPad 2 does as well, but also adds a 64GB version. On paper, there is simply no benefit to buying a Galaxy Tab if power and performance is what a respective customer is after.
6. Pricing is a problem
Pricing continues to be a major issue for iPad 2 competitors. According to Samsung, it will be selling its WiFi-only 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab for $499 and $599 for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively. Its 8.9-inch offering will retail for $469 and $569. The WiFi-only version of the iPad 2 is priced the same as Samsung’s larger tablet. Apple is selling a 3G version, as well. Samsung’s goal should have been to undercut the iPad 2 on price to attract customers on a budget. Saving them $30 on a smaller product and nothing on a slightly larger product isn’t enough.
7. Thinking about entertainment
Samsung has been touting the entertainment opportunities of its Galaxy Tab. According to the company, its Readers Hub and Music Hub comes with more than “2.2 million books, 2,000 newspapers, 2,300 magazines and 13 million songs” out of the box. That’s certainly nice. But what it lacks is iTunes. Like it or not, Apple’s digital store is tops around the world. It’s the marketplace that consumers want to use. It’s running in the iPad 2.
8. Being thinner isn’t an advantage
When Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Tab units, the company was quick to point out that the devices are the “world’s thinnest tablets” measuring just 8.6 millimeters thick. But is that really a claim to fame? The iPad 2 comes in at 8.8 millimeters thick. In other words, the two-tenths of a millimeter difference is negligible. When customers hold the two devices next to each other, it will be hard to tell that Samsung’s option is slightly thinner. If that is one of Samsung’s few advantages, the company is in for trouble as it tries to compete with the iPad 2.
9. The 10.1-inch is awfully Xoom-like
Take a look at the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab and compare that the device to the Motorola Xoom. They both have the same size screen, they both offer the same operating system and their internal components are identical. In other words, they’re practically the same device. Considering the Xoom hasn’t been able to knock the iPad 2 from the top of the tablet market, what makes one think that the Galaxy Tab will be any different?
10. WiFi-only first
Samsung plans to launch the new Galaxy Tab devices on June 8. The only issue is that launch will only include WiFi versions of the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab. The WiFi and HSPA+ version won’t come out until the summer. The same is true for the company’s 8.9-inch model. LTE and WiMax versions won’t be released until later this year. So, what does that mean? Simple: those hoping to connect to the Web with a built-in mobile connectivity option will need to wait months. The iPad 2, which comes with 3G connectivity, but admittedly lacks 4G, is available now. That’s a major issue for Samsung as it tries to coax customers to its tablets.