Samsung Galaxy Tab makes grand entrance right on cue

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After a prolonged pre-launch saga that has stretched back to the beginning of May when the first rumors of the S-Pad surfaced, the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Tab has officially made its grand entrance at IFA. There has since been an explosion of news, images, videos, and general excitement surrounding the device, so without further ado here's a round-up of the main information.

Firstly a rundown of the official specs, which mostly match the information leaked previously. The Galaxy Tab features a 7-inch WSVGA (1024×600) capacitive touch screen supporting multi-touch but unlike the rumors, the screen is a TFT-LCD instead of an AMOLED. This makes sense for cost and supply reasons since AMOLED displays are still expensive and in short supply. The processor is the same Samsung S5PC110 Hummingbird CPU found in the Galaxy S smartphone, with a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 core and a PowerVR SGX540 graphics processor. The tablet has 512MB RAM, is available with either 16 or 32GB of inbuilt storage expandable via microSD, and includes two cameras, a rear-facing 3MP unit with an LED flash and a front-facing 1.3MP webcam. Connectivity options include 5GHz dual-band a/b/g/n WiFi, a full range of 2.5G (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) and 3G (HSUPA/HSDPA) networks for voice and data, Bluetooth 3.0, and A-GPS. Other hardware specs include a gyroscope, geo-magnetic (compass), accelerometer, and light sensors, a large 4000mAh li-on battery, and a 30-pin connector on the bottom for HDMI, USB, and docking station accessories. In terms of dimensions, the Tab measures 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.5 inches and tips the scales at 13.4 ounces.

On the software front, the Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2 Froyo with Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 interface, has full access to the Android Market and Samsung Apps app stores, supports Adobe Flash 10.1 and full HD video playback, features the Swype soft keyboard, and comes with a range of other software for e-books, multimedia, social networking, and office productivity.

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At the moment, there are a few question marks over launch details and price. Europe will be first in line to receive the device followed by a US launch a bit later. Although we've seen images of a prototype supporting CDMA networks, there wasn't any mention of it at the IFA launch with the GSM version taking center stage for now. To coincide with the launch, Vodafone has just announced that it will be selling the Galaxy Tab as a network carrier throughout Europe and in some worldwide markets.

A concrete official price has yet to be released, but as an indication, the tablet has become available for pre-order on Expansys for £679.99 (for the 16GB version), which works out to around US$1050. But as some have pointed out, Expansys is not a reliable indicator as it usually sets pre-order prices early based on higher estimated costs rather than official retail prices. O2 Germany has stated via Twitter that it will be selling the device for a subsidized €99 in October with a €27.50 per month plan. Meanwhile, BoyGeniusReport have reported that Sprint will be launching the Galaxy Tab in the US in November and that there's a chance it will ship with 3G and 4G connectivity, but this is so far unverified.

In conclusion, I think Samsung built up a lot of expectation prior to the launch and the Galaxy Tab has generally met those expectations by being one of the most complete and well executed Android tablets we've ever seen. There are still lots of question marks regarding Android's suitability in a large tablet environment, and whether the Galaxy Tab will be able to compete with the likes of Apple and the iPad, but on paper the device is looking very promising. Share your thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Tab in the comments and check out a few videos of the device in action below.

[Liliputing | Carrypad | Engadget | BoyGeniusReport | Android Central]
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Jeremy To

Jeremy is a former editor at Pocketables.

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