I may not yet own an Android phone but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping up to speed with the latest offerings from those who are using Google’s mobile OS. For the most part though the phones that I’ve been interested in are unfortunately incapable of being used in Australia thanks to our lack of CDMA and 4G services. Still there are quite a few nice handset options available for us Australians most of which come from the handset giant HTC. However after asking my far more Android savvy friend about which handset I should go for (after giving up on getting anything more than a HTC Desire) he said that I should check out the Samsung Galaxy S as it’s been a very popular handset of late. What I found surprised me.
The handset itself is quite impressive with specifications easily rivalling that of all its competitors. The 1GHz CPU and 512MB RAM are what we’ve come to expect in almost any high end smart phone. However the use of a Super AMOLED screen and a dedicated graphics chip (the same as the one found in the Apple’s A4 processor that powers both the iPad and iPhone 4) is what sets this handset apart from it’s pack. Considering this handset can be picked up for just under $700 unlocked it’s really quite competitive when compared to other handsets. It’s no wonder that Samsung has managed to move over a million of these to date.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Samsung wasn’t capable of delivering such a quality piece of hardware; I thought the same thing too. Whilst they have a reputation for making quite beautiful TVs and monitors they haven’t exactly been seen as being synonymous with quality when they’ve branched out into other areas. Still I can’t say that I’ve had a bad experience when it comes to Samsung’s products, in fact most have performed quite adequately. The stigma then is most likely because people have seen them as one of the cheaper brands for consumer electronics, unfortunately tagging them as lower quality as well (however valid or invalid that might be).
Still they’ve managed to prove that they can build and deliver high end consumer devices that not only work, but can also be counted amongst the best of breed in their class. You can then imagine everyone’s excitement when they announced the upcoming Galaxy Tab, building on the success of the Galaxy handset line:
London, UK, September 2, 2010 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in mobile technology, today announced the launch of the Samsung GALAXY Tab (GT-P1000). Powered by the Android Operating System 2.2, the GALAXY Tab is the first of the company’s tablet devices, representing a new category of mobile products for Samsung.
The Samsung GALAXY Tab brings together all of Samsung’s leading innovations to provide users with more capabilities while on the move. Consumers are able to experience PC-like web-browsing and enjoy all forms of multimedia content on the perfectly sized 7-inch display, wherever they go. Moreover, users can continuously communicate via e-mail, voice and video call, SMS/MMS or social network with the optimised user interface.
The specs on this little beasty are really quite impressive. In fact if you go down the list pretty much every gripe that anyone has ever had about the iPad has been addressed as it comes in a smaller size, packs a higher resolution screen and has both front and back facing cameras. Couple that with expandable storage and it looks like Samsung might be onto a winner here, especially if the rumours of it being aimed somewhere between US$200 and $400 turn out to have some truth to them. The question then remains: will this device sell?
Well 1 million Galaxy owners can’t be wrong and you can bet that many of them who’ve favoured Samsung in the past would definitely give such a device heavy consideration. It’s definitely aimed at the anti-iPad crowd what with its cherry picked features and Android OS, leading me to believe that this might become the flagship tablet for the Android platform. Whether it will sell or not is heavily dependent on how the market sees it. The iPad did well thanks mostly to its brand name, something which Samsung just can’t leverage the way Apple did. Still the Android crowd has proven to be just as loyal and cashed up as their Cupertino counterparts so Samsung is definitely in with a shot here.
What’s the most interesting thing about the announcement of this tablet is Samsung’s recent mindshift that has spurred them to innovate in the mobile sector. Just on a year ago if you bought a Samsung phone you probably weren’t buying an Android device and no one predicted that they would bring out something that would capture such a large market. The introduction of a tablet means that they’re looking to square up with Apple and hopefully take a piece of their deliciously profitable hardware sector pie. They’re definitely a force to be reckoned with as they have a net income of over $10 billion a year and enough sway with a whole lot of manufacturers to really give Apple (and all other companies producing tablets) a run for their money.