Samsung unveils ultra-mobile tablets, laptops

Today, Samsung announced several new products, including two small Galaxy tablets and two thin notebooks

The Galaxy Tab now has two little brothers: The 4- and 5-inch Galaxy Players. The new "ultra-mobile" Android tablets were unveiled Wednesday morning by Samsung Electronics America President Tim Baxter at a New York press conference.

The new units will come with Android 2.2 (Froyo) but will be upgradeable to version 2.3 (Gingerbread), according to Samsung, and thus both units are compatible with Adobe Flash 10.1. The Galaxy Players have front (VGA resolution) and rear (3.2-megapixel) cameras but only the 5-inch model has a flash. Both support removable microSD cards with capacities up to 32GB.

Unlike the Galaxy Tab, which comes in Wi-Fi and 3G cellular data versions, the 5-ounce 4-inch and 7-ounce 5-inch Galaxy Players come with 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi adapters and include Qik applications for Internet telephony. The 4-inch unit also comes with Skype voice and video calling software preinstalled. The units also have stereo speakers with virtual 5.1 surround sound support.

While the larger Galaxy Tab with its 7-inch high-resolution display is meant as a productivity and entertainment device, the smaller Galaxy Players are intended for use as media players, game-playing devices and e-book readers and as Internet-based communications devices.

Only the 5-inch unit at the press conference was operational, but its response to touch commands was snappy and the screen was bright and sharp. While considerably larger than a cell phone, the Galaxy players are designed to fit into a pants pocket.

Samsung also showed off the highly anticipated, ultrathin Series 9 notebooks, one of which-the 13-inch model-will arrive at Best Buy and other retail outlets on Thursday. An 11-inch model won't arrive until mid-April, said Samsung. Both lightweight units come in sleek black bodies and-for the sake of speed and size-use solid state storage instead of rotating hard disks.

The 13-inch Series 9 notebook comes with a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor ($1,649 with Windows 7 Home Premium; $1,699 with Windows 7 Professional), 4GB of DDR3 memory and a 128GB SSD while the 11-inch model (no pricing announced) comes with Windows 7 Home Premium, a 1.33GHz Intel Core i3 processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory and a 64GB SSD.

The 13-inch model weighs in at just 2.89 pounds while its 11-inch sibling tips the scale at just 2.31 pounds. Both promise up to seven hours of use with their lithium polymer batteries. While the screen sizes are different, both offer LED-backlit SuperBright Plus displays with resolutions of 1,366 by 768 pixels.

As Samsung announced a wide range of new products, including three new twin-LCD DualView digital cameras and new plasma TVs, the company showed off new apps that bring new features to the Galaxy Tab. For example, one of the new apps allows the Galaxy Tab to be used as a wireless preview monitor for Samsung's new SH100 digital camera, which has a built in Wi-Fi adapter. You can remotely zoom the camera from the tablet and trip the shutter remotely as well. The 14.2-megapixel SH100 ($200), which has a 5X optical zoom lens, can upload photos directly to popular Web sites such as Facebook and Picasa and can automatically back up photos to a PC. The DLNA wireless connectivity can also be used to play back photos and videos on an HDTV.

The Samsung App Store has reached 3 million downloads and more apps that add new capabilities to the Galaxy tablet family are expected, according to a Samsung representative.

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Tags skypeSamsung Electronics Americahardware systemsSamsung Electronicslaptopstablet PCstablets

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Robert Anthony

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