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First Impressions: Samsung Galaxy Tab

17 Sep

samsung internet tabletLast week, I had an opportunity to spend some minutes with the Samsung Galaxy Tab at Samsung’s Global HQ in Seoul. To be honest, before seeing the Tab in action I was a bit apprehensive about Samsung’s decision to have a 7.0-inch display, which is almost 2 inches shorter (diagonally) than Apple’s iPad. The OlivePad also has a 7.0-inch display and I found that device a bit uncomfortable to use while held in the hand.

The Galaxy Tab, on the other hand, turned out to be quite a pleasing device. Unlike the iPad, which is “something that you use while you are sitting” (words of a Samsung rep, not mine), the Tab is an “on-the-go” device. And it works, really.

Without looking at the tech specs (which I have added at the end, anyway) the Tab is almost the same dimensions as the Amazon Kindle. It is handy, not excessively heavy (so single-handed usage is a go) and a well finished product. Yeah, many of you might cry foul when you see the back of the device (notice how the edges taper off) but in short, it all adds up quite well, something that is missing in the OlivePad and the Spice Mi700.

The Tab is also the first Android-based Internet Tablet that has a 1024×600 pixel display, which means that images and videos appear much sharper than other Android Tablets and even the iPad for that matter. Samsung also has a Media Hub app for the Tab that will enable users to buy movies and TV shows directly from the device. However, we have our reservations whether Media Hub would be made available in India when the device is launched later this year.

On the multimedia front, the Tab can play videos at full HD resolution (1080p) and its 3.2 MP camera can shoot videos at 720p resolution. There is a front facing 1.3 MP camera for video calls too. It comes in two variants – 16 GB and 32 GB of internal memory – and both sport microSD card slots that can accomodate another 32 GB of memory.

Unlike many Android-based Internet Tablets currently available, the Tab runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and I am told it will get updated when a new version is released.

The Galaxy Tab is without an iota of doubt the best Android Internet Tablet we have seen so far. However, none of the others really set any new benchmarks and from a competition point of view, I can think of only one device – the iPad. Sure, the Tab has most things going for it – an aesthetically pleasing design, a highly portable form factor and pretty good specifications. What Samsung lacks at the moment are quality apps and services that are universally available. In other words THE APP STORE.

It will be very difficult for Samsung to overcome that hurdle but I’m sure, with its marketing muscle, it should be able to sell at least a million units before the end of this year. I am being conservative here, considering that it is not like the Galaxy S that was launched in 110 countries simultaneously and Internet Tablets still fall in a very niche segment.

Samsung GALAXY Tab (GT-P1000) Product Specifications

Network: 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE) : 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
3G (HSUPA 5.76Mbps, HSDPA7.2 Mbps) : 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
OS: Android 2.2 (Froyo)
Display: 7.0-inch TFT-LCD, WSVGA (1024 x 600)
Processor: Cortex A8 1.0GHz Application Processor with PowerVR SGX540
Camera: 3 MP Camera with Auto Focus and LED Flash, 1.3MP front camera for Video Telephony
Connectivity: 30 pin connector / microSD/ WiFi 802.11n / Bluetooth 3.0
Memory: 16GB / 32GB internal memory, upto 32GB external memory slot
RAM: 512MB
Size: 190.09 x 120.45 x 11.98mm, 380g
Battery: 4,000mAh (7 hour movie play)

Disclosure: My trip was sponsored by Qualcomm.

Vapourware, eh? $35 Android tablet arriving in January 2011

8 Sep

This could be India’s ultimate tech achievement. If the Minister for Human Resources Development Kapil Sibal surprised all us cynics by actually showing the world a prototype of the $35 7-inch Android tablet, there are numerous reports coming in that that the device might actually see the light of the market in January 2011 will go a long way in blowing away the “vapourware” speculation surrounding the device. According to the reports, the contract for manufacturing the tablets has been awarded to one of India’s leading tech companies, HCL, and the first batch of tablets will be seen in the market as early as January 10, 2011. Interestingly, no mention has been made of the price at which these tablets will be made available to students and the general public, but even if the price tag is double that of the proposed $35 one, it would be one heck of an achievement.

Yes, we were cynical about it. Yes, we are longing to eat humble pie. Bring it on, HCL.

Samsung Galaxy Tab teaser video

25 Aug

Yesterday we reported about Samsung’s teaser video for its upcoming Galaxy Tab – an Android-based Internet Tablet. If you were unable to check it yesterday, fret not. Here’s the teaser video again, just for you.

Samsung teases the Galaxy Tab officially, announcement on Sept 2

24 Aug

After being leaked numerous times in the past couple of months, Samsung has just unveiled its first Android Internet Tablet – the Galaxy Tab. Well, sorta. A teaser site has been put up that shows the Galaxy Tab without revealing much. The first major Android Tablet will be formally unveiled on September 2, the eve of IFA 2010 in Berlin.

Having said that, we were able to glean off some bits of hard facts from the teaser video. Firstly, it will run Android 2.2, which leaves the rumoured Motorola Android Tablet some space when it is announced in November running on Android 2.2 with a higher resolution display. What we like, however, is the iPad-like e-mail interface with the headers on the left and e-mail body on the right. We think Google might have worked with Samsung for this functionality.

And yes, it has a 7.0-inch display and comes with Swype for quick typing. Seems that Android has finally come of age when it comes to Internet Tablets. But we will save our verdict till the time we get our mitts on it.

Hands on with Spice Mi700 Internet Tablet (video)

19 Aug

And finally the Spice Internet Tablet Mi700 (thank God it ain’t called the Spicepad or the Spicetab!). Without much ado, let’s just put it this way – it is the same device as the Olivepad! So hit the break below and check out the Spice Mi700 or the Olivepad…

Spice likely to launch Android smartphones in India this week

17 Aug

spic mobile android phoneSpice is holding a press conference with Qualcomm on August 19 in New Delhi and we have a fair idea what it is all about. In all likelihood, Spice will launch its first Android smartphone based on Qualcomm’s MSM 7227 SoC platform. Launched as the Mi300 in Malaysia a month ago, the smartphone has a 3.2 inch HVGA display, a 5.0 MP camera, a 3.5 mm audio jack and the works…

What we would be looking out, however, is for the Mi700 – an Internet Tablet running on Android and sporting a 7.0-inch display. Spice was scheduled to announce it in August and the timing seems perfect. If launched, it would compete directly with the Olivepad, which is priced at about Rs 25,000 in India but is not yet available in India. We will be covering the event live on Twitter on August 19. Stay tuned in.

Spice launches Android smartphone in Malaysia, plans to launch Internet Tablet in August

26 Jul

Spice CSL of Malaysia, a JV between Malaysia’s CSL Group and Spice i2i (a Singapore-based entity of Spice Global) has launched an Android smartphone in Malaysia. Judging that it sports Spice branding, we assume that Spice Mobile will soon make its Android debut in India.

The Mi300 (the name might change if it is launched in India) is a typical mid-end Android smartphone (think of the HTC Wildfire) and has a 3.2 inch HVGA (320×480 pixels) display. It is powered by a Qualcomm MSM 7227 SoC with a 600 MHz ARM processor and has 512 MB ROM/256 MB RAM. It currently runs on Android 1.6 but the company says it will be upgraded to Android 2.1 soon. We wonder why it wasn’t launched in Malaysia with Android 2.1 when other vendors are about to announce their smartphones running Android 2.2.

Connectivity options include 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. On the multimedia front, the Mi300 offers a 5.0 MP camera and a 3.5 mm audio jack. We would be interested to see how soon Spice brings the Mi300 to India and at what price point. We would like to see it launched at about Rs 10,000.

Spice CSL is also planning to launch an Android-based Internet Tablet – the Mi700 – in August. It is expected to have a 7.0 inch touchscreen and we won’t be surprised if it shares its specs with the recently-announced Olivepad.