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Samsung unveils Android tablet with 3G telephony

Sep 2, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Samsung Electronics announced its much-anticipated Android consumer tablet, due to ship in Europe in mid-September. The Samsung Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2 on a 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor, and offers a seven-inch, 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen, a three-megapixel camera, a front-facing videocam, 802.11n, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, and 3G with voice telephony, says the company.

The Galaxy Tab will debut in Europe this month, and launches are also set for Asia, the U.S. and other markets in the coming months, says Samsung, which did not reveal pricing. Speculation that Verizon will offer the tablet appears to have been confirmed by a BoyGeniusReport post this week of an internal Verizon inventory screen showing the tablet.


The Samsung Galaxy Tab offers both front- and rear-facing cameras.

(Click on either to enlarge)

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is equipped with a 1GHz, Cortex-A8 system-on-chip (SoC) with a PowerVR SGX540 3D graphics accelerator, says Samsung. (Previous leaked reports had listed a 1.2GHz processor instead.)

As noted in a hands-on report today from AndroidCentral's Dieter Bohn, the SoC is the same as that used in Samsung's Galaxy S smartphones, which would make it the Samsung S5PC110 "Hummingbird."

The Galaxy Tab is available with 16GB or 32GB of internal flash, says Samsung. A microSD card that can hold up to 32GB of additional storage is also said to be available. According to AndroidCentral, the tablet offers 512MB of RAM.


Galaxy Tab turns on the accelerometers

(Click to enlarge)

The Galaxy Tab appears to provide 3G HSPA cellular access as a standard feature, although as noted, pricing was not detailed. Specifically, the tablet supports HSUPA and HSDPA 3G services, as well as EDGE and GPRS, says the company. Other wireless features are said to include 802.11n, GPS, and Bluetooth 3.0. 

One new development is that the Galaxy Tab supports voice telephony over 3G cellular, although judging from the photo at right posted by AndroidCentral, making calls on the large device might make one look like a time traveler from 1989.

As AndroidCentral's Bohn puts it, "Yes, you can make calls directly on the Tab, but we're going to recommend that you use speakerphone or Bluetooth lest you look like a complete sidetalker."

The seven-inch display offers a generous WSVGA (1024 x 600) resolution, as well as multitouch zoom and accelerometers. Missing, however, is the rumored Super AMOLED technology, which so far is exclusively available with Samsung smartphones.

In contrast with the camera-free Apple iPad, the Galaxy Tab offers both a front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam and a back-facing three-megapixel autofocus camera. The latter is said to offer LED flash and support 720 x 480 video capture at 30fps.

Video playback on the device moves up to full 1080p, with HD video support for, XviD, MPEG4, H.263, H.264, and DivX available, says Samsung. According to a DivX announcement today, the Galaxy Tab is the world's first DivX-certified tablet.


The Galaxy Tab is less than half an inch thick and weighs a slight 13.4 ounces (380 grams).

(Click to enlarge)

The Galaxy Tab measures 7.48 x 4.74 x 0.47 inches (190.09 x 120.45 x 11.98mm), and weighs a relatively svelte 13.4 ounces (380 grams), says Samsung. By comparison, Archos' Archos 70 and NEC's LifeTouch seven-inch Android tablets each weigh about 14 ounces (400 grams), and Aigo's similarly configured N700 is said to weigh over a pound (465 grams). The iPad, meanwhile, weighs a hefty 1.5 to 1.6 pounds (with 3G), albeit with a larger 9.7-inch display.

The Galaxy Tab's 4000mAh battery supports up to seven hours of video playback, claims Samsung. Speakers and a 3.5mm headphone jack are also said to be available.


Galaxy Tab showing off web surfing, video, and e-reading chops

(Click to enlarge)

Samsung offers a customized UI layer based on its TouchWiz 3.0 skin. This sits atop Android 2.2, with the latter bringing Flash 10.1 playback to the tablet, along with fast browsing and other enhancements. Android Market, as well as various Samsung apps, is also said to be available.

Communications-related software is said to include push email, voice and video calling, SMS/MMS, and DLNA support. Additional software includes Google's Gmail, as well as Google Maps Navigation.

Swype is provided, as is MS Exchange ActiveSync, and there is also an integrated calendar with Facebook integration, says Samsung. The ThinkFree documenting viewing and editing app is also supplied, says the company.

The Galaxy Tab includes a new Samsung "Readers Hub" e-reader application, and will soon offer the "Media Hub," for access to films and videos, as well as a "Music Hub" application. According to a report this week by our sister publication eWEEK, Samsung will formally unveil the Media Hub as well as an unnamed Android device at a Sept. 16 event in New York City.

AndroidCentral's Bohn says he wants to hold off on a final judgment on the Galaxy Tab until pricing is revealed, and until he can test how a wide range of Android apps appear on the non-standard resolution. (He notes, however, that "Samsung has built-in a bit of upscaling wizardry," to help small-screen apps adapt to the tablet — at least until Android 3.0 comes along with native support for higher resolutions.)

In the end, Bohn, tentatively concludes, "Speed, responsiveness, and overall feel are excellent. If this device were available in a Wi-Fi-only version we'd buy it in a hot minute." AndroidCentral posted a YouTube video demo of the device below.

 

AndroidCentral's YouTube video on the Galaxy Tab
Source: AndroidCentral; YouTube
(Click to play)

Stated JK Shin, president and head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, "The Samsung Galaxy Tab is pushing the market in new directions and Samsung believes this is only the beginning of its innovations as pioneers in smart media devices."

Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be launched in Europe in mid September, and in other markets including Korea, the U.S., and Asia in the coming months, says Samsung. Pricing was not available. More information may be found here.

The BoyGeniusReport story claiming the Galaxy Tab will ship on Verizon may be found here.

The eWEEK story on the upcoming unveiling of the Samsung Media Hub should be here.

The AndroidCentral hands-on report on the Galaxy Tab may be found here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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