In the UK, on November 1st 2010, Samsung launched the Galaxy Tab, a 7-inch tablet computer. Running Android 2.2 FroYo as an operating system, with a 1 GHz ARM processor, 512 MB RAM, 16GB of storage (expandable via microSD), it looked excellent with a specification sheet like that.
|Samsung Galaxy Tab (official image courtesy of Samsung)|
I had a chance to play around with the Samsung Galaxy Tab in October at a conference, before the official launch. At the time I didn't get a chance to use it for long, but it seemed good. The same Samsung customised skin from the Galaxy S Android phone had been ported to a larger and higher resolution screen (1024 x 600) and seemed to be very snappy and responsive.
|The Samsung Galaxy Tab I got to play around with in October next to my trusty T-Mobile Pulse Android phone|
Before I go any further, I should state that I work for a retailer that sells the Samsung Galaxy Tab, participated in the set up of the display units in a store and have been playing around with the device since a couple of days before the launch. This disclosure should preemptively avoid any "Screw you Mike Arrington...!" moments. (If you don't get the joke, watch Leo Laporte losing it here)
After playing around with Samsung Galaxy Tab for over ten days, I've lost my initial interest in the device for three reasons:
- Before having an in depth experience with the Tab, I had read about the Google statement saying Android 2.2 FroYo wasn't yet ready for tablet computers, and that it was still aimed at mobile phones. Only after using the Samsung Galaxy Tab for a while did I realise how right that statement is. On the surface all is well with the user interface and the pre-installed applications, but when installing many apps from the Android Market (such as the Engadget one or Robo Defence) the applications are in a letterbox on the large 7-inch screen. To add to that, even though Swype comes as a standard keyboard on the Tab, using a keyboard on the multi-touch screen is uncomfortable and slow. I really hope the device gets an update to the iteration of Android for tablets.
- Screen legibility in a bright environment is ok, but the tempered glass touch-screen is smudged easily and is a very reflective. I wouldn't be able to use this device as a portable web browser/ebook reader as much as I would like to, because my eyes were very tired after demoing it for just over six hours in a strip lighted store.
- The price is steep. In the UK, at launch, the Samsung Galaxy Tab was sold at £529. After a week on sale, the price was reduced to £499. Still, when compared in functionality to a netbook with an integrated 3G radio, the Galaxy Tab is double the price.
If you were considering purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Tab, my advice would be to hold on to your hard earned cash a little longer. Android tablet computers are just starting to hit the market, but Google (main input and guide of the Android platform) doesn't think the operating system is ready for these devices. My advice is to wait until the Android platform is slightly more mature and Google endorses the use of the Android OS on tablets. If you do buy one, you may end up doing a Samsung Galaxy Tab reboxing like Jeff Jarvis did with his Apple iPad...
Samsung and other manufacturers (Archos, Toshiba, Advent, etc.) who decided to jump forward into the market before Christmas with Android tablets may just be left to their own devices when it comes to the long term longevity of their products and software updates.
Feel free to let me know what you think and ask any questions in the comments section below.