Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Samsung Tab: 7" Android Tablet at CTIA

Samsung made their new 7" Android tablet, the "GALAXY Tab" the centerpiece of their exhibit at the CTIA Wireless Enterprise & Applications show.  The device appeared at a number of stations showing a variety of applications, from entertainment to medical to video conferencing.

The device supports Flash video, and hence runs on Android version 2.2 (aka Froyo), though Google does not officially support tablets in this rev. Independent application developers that I talked to at CTIA E&A told me that they had no problems porting their Android apps from the Galaxy smartphones to the 7" tablet form factor.

When I asked Samsung representatives about the selling price and release date, they had no information. The Samsung exhibit made a big deal about the GALAXY Tab being available from each of the top-4 wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon), but the device will be sold as WiFi only in the U.S. In the earlier European release, the device included 3G GSM connectivity.  The carrier "support" then is only to provide a sales channel (with no contract I hope), and the device.should also be available from other retailers.

When I was in the "Android Bootcamp" today, Sprint presented that Samsung GALAXY Tab as having 3G and WiFi connectivity.  Since this contradicted the information I received yesterday, I went back to the Samsung exhibit on the show floor to check on the official plan for how the device will be offered through wireless carriers. 

This is the clarification I receieved:
The Samsung GALAXY Tab will follow the same model as the GALAXY-S, i.e. each of the 4 major carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon) will offer a version that is compatible with their 3G network. Devices will require subscription to a data plan.

The Samsung GALAXY Tab will be sold by other retailers in a WiFi only mode.

In a demonstration playing a pre-loaded video, (the Qik video demo was not available due to the now infamous "WiFi problems"), the image was very good and the overall operation with a 1GHz Cortex-based processor appeared to be very fast.

On my return visit to the Samsung exhibit today, I did see a successful demonstration of the Qik video conferencing app running between two of the GALAXY Tab demo stations.

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