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Summary:

Samsung officially announced the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, saying the 7-inch Android tablet will initially launch in Austria and Indonesia, but later expand to the U.S. and other regions. Some of the hardware upgrades appeal, but a key issue remains: selling tablets with lengthy contracts.

galaxy-tab-7-plus

Samsung officially announced the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus on Friday, saying the 7-inch Android tablet will initially launch in Austria and Indonesia, but later expand to the U.S. and most other regions around the world. The slate is an upgrade from the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab that launched around this time last year. The new version runs the tablet-focused Honeycomb version of Android.

Among the improved hardware are a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 720p high-definition video recording, 1080p video playback and support for 21 Mbps HSPA+ networks. Here in the U.S., the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus will run on AT&T’s mobile broadband network unless Samsung later builds a GSM version specifically for T-Mobile or a CDMA model for Verizon and Sprint. Samsung’s new slate is slightly thinner than its predecessor at 9.96 millimeters. It also supports Wi-Fi channel bonding for faster wireless connectivity.

Some specifications are unchanged from last year’s Galaxy Tab, so this isn’t a complete overhaul of the device. The tablet still uses a 3-megapixel sensor for the rear camera, although the front camera is boosted to 2 megapixels. The 7-inch display is an IPS LCD, so don’t look for Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus technology which brings brighter, more vivid colors. And the screen resolution remains at 1024×600 pixels, unlike the 1280×800 screen resolution on the slightly larger Galaxy Tab 7.7 slate.

 

As a current Samsung Galaxy Tab owner who has used the tablet daily since December of last year, I see little reason to upgrade. There are some nice, new hardware features that I’d like, but I’m more impressed by the Galaxy 7.7 with its higher resolution and better display. Additionally, my Tab was bought with a two-year data plan contract. I’d either have to pay an early termination fee or pay full price for the new tablet, as a result.

This situation is part of the problem for nearly all tablets other than Apple’s iPad, which is sold without a contract. Instead, the iPad is purchased at full price with the option of monthly data plans as needed. Samsung, Acer, Asus, Motorola, LG and others who build Android tablets would do well to work out similar deals with carriers. In not doing so, their tablets with mobile broadband are tied to lengthy contracts that may garner a few more sales up front due to subsidized hardware prices, but limit upgrades and sales of new models down the road.

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  1. Samsung is really looking to fill every possible segment. 7.0, 7.7, 8.9, 10.1. Choice is good, but to me it seems like a bit of overkill. Screen resolution is one differentiation, are there other significant differentiators? Anyone know if there’s a good side-by-side comparison somewhere? I’m too lazy to track down all the specifications and drop them into a spreadsheet ;)

  2. Small point, Kevin – my Galaxy Tab was bought with a month-to-month deal from Verizon. 3gb/month. Don’t know if they still offer it.
    Btw…I looked at the GTab after you and JK endorsed it last December. I compared it to the iPad, jumnped and never regretted it. The semi-pocketable size has made it a potent companion in countless settings where an iPad would be too large to be welcome. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for that data point, T! I haven’t been following the plan pricing of late; guessing that you paid full price for the Galaxy Tab for that month to month deal. Yup, while I find the iPad to be a great device around the house or when stationary for a while, like you, I find the Galaxy Tab to be usable in more places, i.e.: more portable and mobile. :)

      1. I have been an early adopter of the 7″ Tab for a long time. In my job I get access to most of the tablets on the market, and for me, SIZE MATTERS. T Lewis’ point about the 7″ being semi-pocketable and iPad being to large rings true with me. I have 2 personal tablets that are “mine”, 7″ Tab and an iPad. My iPad is idle most of the time, by 7″ Tab is used daily for work and play.

  3. would be nice if they’d update the os for us original 7 in adopters who are stuck in contract

    nice to know when i do upgrade i won’t have t go bigger at least….

    1. I agree, but don’t expect the original Galaxy Tab to officially see Honeycomb or ICS. All of the HC tablets have been dual-core CPUs which the original Galaxy Tab doesn’t have. Third party devs are likely to create some upgrade path for us, but that will take time.

  4. I own Samsung appliances and love them. I bought a Samsung MP3 player when the iPod Minis first came out instead of an because the Samsung was supposed to be able to download digital photos from my camera to its hard drive.

    They dropped support for it after a year because they discontinued it. It soon became a brick. I’m a bit gun-shy on purchasing a tablet for fear of the same thing. Will my device be obsolete in a year and get no support?

    But if it was affordable I might be inclined to buy it.

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