Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablet coming soon

A firmware update reveals details of the upcoming Samsung Android tablet device

Earlier this year Samsung unveiled plans for an Android-based Galaxy tablet PC to launch by the end of the year. New details are emerging now, and it appears that Samsung may launch the device in a few weeks at the IFA 2010 consumer electronics show in Berlin.

The initial details released on the Samsung tablet concept hinted that it might have specifications and functionality capable of offering an iPad alternative. The early information suggested that the tablet would have a 7-inch Super AMOLED display with Samsung's proprietary TouchWiz UI, a 1.2GHz A8 processor, 16Gb of internal memory--expandable to 48Gb, and run the latest Android 2.2 OS--a.k.a. "Froyo".

The team at Samsung Firmware have gotten their hands on a firmware update which confirms some of the early predictions, and reveals more details about the upcoming tablet. According to Samsung Firmware, the Galaxy Tab will run Android 2.2, and it does have an ARM processor, but it is supposedly the slower and less powerful processor found in its Galaxy S smartphone siblings.

In addition, Samsung Firmware was able to determine from the firmware update that the Galaxy Tab will have a display resolution of 480x800, GPS functionality, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and rear and front facing cameras. The details also reveal that the Galaxy Tab will run JavaScript 1.5 and Adobe Flash Player.

There are rumors that the tablet will be offered through Vodafone UK later this fall. However, there are also rumors that Samsung will launch the tablet in early September at the IFA 2010 conference in Berlin--suggesting that Vodafone may get the device, but not necessarily be first in line. There are no details about availability of the Galaxy Tab for the United States.

Samsung seems to have a much better timing strategy than rival iPad competitors such as Asus. Launching the Galaxy Tab tablet in the fall is brilliant. It is far enough away from the original iPad launch, or the coming next-generation iPad to be the focus of attention, and--assuming it lives up to the demand--it could provide a capable Android-based tablet to take on the iPad during the 2010 holiday season.

We will all have to wait and see if the Samsung Galaxy Tab delivers. But, ultimately, the success of the device is only partly dependent on the capabilities of the tablet itself. Pricing the tablet too high, or offering it through the wrong distribution channels--or both--could make or break the Android tablet as well.

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Tony Bradley

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