Samsung on Thursday introduced the Galaxy Tab, a tablet PC aimed at the heart of Apple's iPad, at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany. Samsung presented the tablet with a pun that cites a "new galaxy of possibilities."
The Galaxy Tab has a seven-inch display and weighs .84 pounds. It comes with 16GB or 32GB of internal storage and a 32GB microSD expansion slot. The iPad competitor also features a touchscreen, Wi-Fi, GPS, 802.11 and Bluetooth.
What the Galaxy Tab has that the first iPad doesn't is back- and front-facing cameras. The front-facing camera allows face-to-face video telephony over 3G. The rear-facing camera captures still images and video that consumers can edit, upload and share.
The Galaxy Tab also acts as a mobile phone. Samsung is billing the device as fit to use as a speakerphone on the desk, or as a mobile phone on the move via a Bluetooth headset.
"The fact that the device makes calls is a definite differentiator, and it also has a front-facing camera, which means you can do video conferencing," said Michael Disabato, managing vice president of network and telecom at Gartner. "I'm expecting to see that in iPad version two next year because Apple was roundly struck in the butt about not having that capability."
Samsung Bets on Growth
The tablet uses Samsung's popular Swype software that promises faster text input. The Tab offers HD movie playback, navigation, augmented reality, e-reading capabilities, and a PC-like browsing experience. The device also runs Adobe Flash, unlike Apple's iPad.
Samsung developed the Reader's Hub, an e-reading application that gives consumers access to a digital library of books. Meanwhile, the Media Hub offers a gateway to films and videos, and the Music Hub gives access to music. The company is using the DivX format, which means no file conversions are needed to view videos on the Galaxy Tab.
"Samsung recognizes the tremendous growth potential in this newly created market and we believe that the Samsung Galaxy Tab brings a unique and open proposition to market," said JK Shin, president and head of the mobile communications business at Samsung Electronics. "There is a new and emerging consumer demand that Samsung can satisfy, since mobile is in our DNA. This demand continues to grow and develop as users tap its limitless potential."
Android vs iOS
The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be launched in Europe in mid-September, and in other markets, including Korea, the U.S., and Asia in coming months. When the device enters the market, Disabato said it's not really a battle against Apple's hardware and Samsung's hardware.
"What you have here is not Samsung vs Apple, but Android vs iOS. If the planet revolved backward for a day and you could run iOS on another tablet that was not made by Apple, you would discover it's not really about the hardware. It's about the software. The iPad is not what you think it is. It's what you make it. That is also true for the Galaxy Tab. You have to look at it and decide what applications you can run on it."