Apple has defined the market for tablet computers with its iPad and every new release since has inevitably drawn the question – is this an iPad killer? By the looks of things, Samsung's first tablet offering – the Galaxy Tab – could well be. The device trumps its rival on three key points. It's significantly smaller, lighter and more portable, it includes a camera and it works as a phone. We got our hands on the Galaxy Tab during the official launch at IFA today.
Samsung is labeling the tablet as a "Smart Media Device," an attempt to make clear that this is a new product category. While the iPad with its bigger screen is for the couch, this device is aimed at squarely portability and on that front it seems to have all the boxes ticked.
The Galaxy Tab weighs just 380g and measures 190 x 120 x 11.9 mm (7.4 x 4.7 x 0.47), so it could be squeezed into a jacket pocket without too much difficulty.
It runs on Android 2.2, has a 1GHz processor and critically, it works as a phone. The main camera seems a little light on resolution at 3.2 megapixels, but the inclusion of a front facing unit also makes possible mobile video conferencing on the 1024 x 600, 7-inch TFT display (not AMOLED as had been rumored).
The other big question when you're talking portable devices is battery life. Samsung says the Galaxy Tab's 4000 mA battery is good for more than seven hours of HD video playback, and there's support for HTML 5, Adobe Flash Player 1.10 (another key point of difference from the iPad) and multiple codecs including DivX, XviD, MPEG4, H.263 and H.264.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be rolled-out later this month in the US and Asia with a European arrival expected in early October and other markets to follow.
In line with the company's usual business model, the tablet will be offered through carrier partners, with major US providers are among these. Samsung isn't discussing details on exactly what the deals will be in different markets, or what the final price for the consumer is at this stage, saying only that the price point "will be competitive."
There are also no plans for the direct sale of a Wi-Fi only version.
We can rest assured that this won't be the last salvo fired in the growing tablet war – a smaller version of the iPad could well be the next shot fired – and that's good news for the mobile tech consumer.