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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1"
Tablet is Android's long awaited (true) answer to the iPad 2

South Korean gadget maker Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (SEO:005930) was one of the first to deploy a major Android tablet, releasing the 7-inch Galaxy Tab.  The small tablet wasn't exactly the "iPad-slayer" the market had been waiting for, but it occupied a unique niche in the food chain.  Now Samsung is stepping up to the plate, releasing a 10.1" direct challenger to the iPad and looking to go strong, where past competitors like Motorola Mobility Solutions, Inc. (MMIstruggled.

surprisingly slick iPad 2 design forced Samsung back to the drawing board.  It responded by trimming over 2 mm off its design.  In its new form, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a mere 8.6 mm thick -- 0.2 mm less than the iPad 2.  And with 4G wireless connectivity, it weighs in at 595g -- 15 grams less than the iPad 2.

The tablet’s construction is also apparently high quality.  Referencing the "Limited Edition" test builds that Google handed out to attendees of its I/O developers conference Engadget writes:

The consumer model is a spitting image of the LE variant, save for the motif on the rear; the one you'll pick up this month has a glossy white plastic rear, while the LE model had a glossy white plastic rear... with an Android army adorning it. Weight's the same, size is the same, build quality is the same. It's a tremendous thing to hold, and it truly oozes quality from corner to corner.

PC World adds:

In my hands-on testing, the Tab 10.1 achieved perhaps the best design compliment an Android tablet could hope for--often being mistaken by passers-by (including Apple iPad users) for an iPad 2.

Engadget seems to be the only ones who benchmarked it thoroughly, thus far.  They say the tablet's 7000 mAh battery offers 10 hours of battery life when playing video at 65 percent brightness.  That's only 0.5 hour less than the iPad.

Both the iPad 2 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1" should be similar in processing power as both pack dual-core ARMv7 proprietary CPUs (ironically Samsung manufacturers and likely helped design the iPad 2's CPU).  The one advantage the Galaxy Tab 10.1" has is it packs 1 GB of DDR2 memory, versus a mere 512 MB in the iPad 2.

The 16 GB model is priced the same as the iPad 2 for the 16 GB model with Wi-Fi only -- $499 USD.  As with Apple a 32 GB model ("the one with the bigger GBs") is available for $599 USD.  And Verizon will be offering 4G-equipped models for $130 USD more than their respective Wi-Fi counterparts -- the same premium as with the iPad 2.

The Galaxy Tab carries a minor update to Honeycomb -- Android 3.1.

Engadget concludes:

[T]his is the best Honeycomb tablet to date, and lucky for you, the one's available to purchase! Only time will tell if the Android Market will prove to be as well-stocked as the App Store, and if you're willing to wait, this here slate provides a world-class Gmail experience, better handling than the iPad 2 (in our humble opinion, anyway) and a higher resolution display.

PCWorld chimes in:

Whether you go Wi-Fi only or opt for a connected version, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the first Android tablet that makes a credible, and successful, run at competing with Apple's iPad 2. It matches iPad in most every way-design, price, and even that intangible IT factor. Where it falls short lies is in sacrificing ports, but that alone isn't a dealbreaker; heck, Apple's been doing that from the outset. Google's Android Market continues to make it more difficult to find tablet-optimized apps than Apple's App Store does, but again, that may not be a dealbreaker. If neither of those constraints phase you, then the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is one of the top tablets you can consider buying today. And it becomes the flagship Honeycomb tablet for showcasing what Android 3.1 can do.

Note, the reviews all around were much more positive than with the Motorola Xoom, and better even that the somewhat warmly received original Galaxy Tab (7-inch model).

Sounds like the wait was worth it -- Samsung may have a winner on its hands.  That would certainly be a godsend for the struggling Android tablet market.

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By Tony Swash on 6/9/2011 2:31:30 PM , Rating: 2
What world are you living in? Android has a comparable market. They have comparable quality apps.

Does it? How many Android tablet optimised apps are there? You may think blowing up phone apps to a bigger screen is OK I suspect consumers will be more discerning.

Timely software updates? Honeycomb (a tablet-specific OS, unlike anything on iOS) has already been updated to 3.1 and these new tablets are shipping with it.

Android device makers do not have a great track record at updating the OS.

Ease of use? Call me when you've actually used a tablet specific OS that is easier to use than Honeycomb.

The point is about the familiarity of the OS. Millions of iPhone users can move instantly to an iPad and know how to work the UI, that is not true of Android handset users.

And yes, consumer electronics manufacturers like Samsung & Toshiba know all too well how important the accessory ecosystem is, which is why they are specifically promoting all of their accessories with their product launches.

I think you find that i-device accessories vastly out number the quantity available for any given Android device.

It's great that the iPad2 will have iOS5 and all cloud features in a few months. Honeycomb has all that stuff NOW.

Will it? Can you do the following. Take a photo on an Android handset and with out doing anything else (literally nothing, no buttons to click, nothing) have that photo appear simultaneously on your tablet and your desktop computer? Pretending that Google offers something that is the equivalent of iCloud now is simply not true, I bet Google don't think that and I bet they are scrambling right now to catch up. It will be a complex thing to do because they don't control the device and software stack.

Wait and see what the iOS developer community offers on iCloud, the single most important slide in the WWDC keynote was the one that said 'iCloud APIs". Google's cloud solutions are closed - Google is a very closed company that likes to use 'open' as part of it's PR offensive.

Personally I don't think that Google cares very much about tablets. Their only motivation is to ensure access to data about people so they can sell advertising. Android handset help them counter the iPhone (where people are using Google search a lot less) but the iPad is less of a threat because people use Google to search on it a lot more. I think a bigger competitive threat to Apple will come from the Amazon tablet (if it's real and reasonably well done) because Amazon can offer the inter grated content provision that Google cannot.

By SPOOFE on 6/9/2011 8:26:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think you find that i-device accessories vastly out number the quantity available for any given Android device.

Good point, but how many of those accessories are due to Apple's exclusion of various ports, like SD or USB? I think "needs lots of accessories" is not exactly a good selling point...

By smackababy on 6/10/2011 8:31:35 AM , Rating: 2
Considering having accessory choice is a very good selling point, Android simply is outclassed. How many car mounts are there for the EVO? None, you have to buy a universal that may or may not work. That is stupid.

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