Samsung hints at Android tablet for Nordic LTE networks

But the company isn't divulging what spectrum bands the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 will be equipped with

Samsung will release a version of its upcoming Galaxy Tab 8.9, a tablet running Android 3.0, able to connect to LTE (Long-Term Evolution) mobile networks in the Nordic countries, it said Tuesday.

To date, smartphones and tablets with LTE connections have only been compatible with networks in the U.S. Operators offering commercial LTE services across the world use the same technology, but in different frequency bands, so not all products can be used on all networks.

Samsung isn't specifying what spectrum bands the LTE version of the Galaxy Tab 8.9 will work on, but today operators in the Nordic countries use 2.6GHz, the same band that will be used in most other European countries, including Germany (where it has already been auctioned off), France and the U.K. Another option is 800MHz, which was recently auctioned off in Sweden, and is already used in Germany.

The best option would be if the tablet could handle multiple frequency bands at the same time. That could help offer the best possible speeds and coverage, if operators use 800MHz and 2.6GHz at the same time. The 800MHz band has a longer range and more easily penetrates obstacles, making it better for rural areas and indoor coverage, while operators are typically allocated more bandwidth at 2.6GHz, allowing them to offer higher data rates.

Samsung launched the Galaxy Tab 8.9 on Tuesday at the CTIA Wireless trade show in Orlando, Florida. The tablet runs Android Honeycomb and has a 1GHz dual-core processor and an 8.9-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It measures 230.9 x 157.8 x 8.6 millimeters and weighs 470 grams.

The Nordic version will start shipping in the second half of 2011, the company said.

Samsung is not the only company with plans to connect tablets to LTE networks. At Mobile World Congress, ZTE said that it would launch tablets with LTE during the second quarter. ZTE will initially target the 700MHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands, the vendor said at the time.

The total number of LTE devices and modules has grown to 98, according to a recent report from industry organization GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association).

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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