If the 7-inch tablet market was like a wedding, Samsung would be the best bride out there. Along the lines of the old rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, ” Samsung has reportedly announced the Galaxy Tab 2, which is old and new at the same time. The 7-inch slate borrows the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus form-factor and display and adds Android 4.0, Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich software for tablets.
I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind such a product, and I say that as a daily Galaxy Tab user. I bought the original Galaxy Tab in late 2010 and recently replaced it with a Galaxy Tab 7.7, Samsung’s first tablet to use a Super AMOLED Plus high-definition display. Take a peek at my first-look video to see this speedy slate. Frankly, last year’s Tab 7 “Plus” wasn’t enough of an upgrade for me and neither would this new Tab, expected to hit the European markets in March. Here’s a high-level list of what Samsung is selling in the new Tab 2:
- 1 GHz dual-core processor
- 1 GB of RAM with options for 8, 16, and 32 GB of internal memory
- MicroSD card slot for memory expansion
- 7-inch; 1024 x 600 resolution
- 3 megapixel fixed focus rear camera; VGA front camera
- Bluetooth 3.0; GPS; HSPA+ support (on 3G model); Wi-Fi
This hardware configuration is mediocre at best, but gives Samsung a “new” entry-level slate in the 7-inch market. Pricing is expected to start at 349 Euros (US $463). The big draw of course is Android 4.0, but that doesn’t make up for a fixed-focus camera or a low-resolution display. If nothing else, this waters down Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line-up. The only way I could see a huge number of sales is if the pricing is reduced to better compete with tablets in the $199 to $249 range: Think Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.
As a current Galaxy Tab 7.7 owner, the Galaxy Tab 2 news is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s clear that Samsung has successfully integrated its TouchWiz interface with Android 4.0. But on the other, I’m stuck with Android 3.2 until Samsung releases a software upgrade for my higher-end tablet. I knew that when I bought the device, so I don’t mind. And I know how to flash custom software on my tablet, so I’ll likely do so if Samsung drags its feet with an update.