Live blog: Samsung announces the Galaxy Tab S tablets


Samsung is rolling out all the stops for its latest press event, which takes place at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden Thursday. It’s unlikely that any new Samsung products will be square, though: Rumors of new Galaxy tablets have been making the rounds for weeks.

Join us as we live blog the event as you never know what you’re going to see at a Samsung production, both in terms of the devices and the story Samsung tries to relate to them. The event starts at 4pm PT (7pm ET) so make sure to join us then.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:57:58 pm

Thanks everyone and good luck in that basketball challenge, Kif!

Kif Leswing 4:57:52 pm

Good point Kevin: no mention of S-pen features AT ALL. 

Kif Leswing 4:57:33 pm

And we’re done! Thanks for tuning in. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:57:32 pm

And if you had S-Pen on your bingo card, you’re outta luck. These aren’t Notes.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:57:02 pm

Ahhh moled tablet prices.

Kif Leswing 4:56:45 pm

Check “flagship” off your Samsung bingo cards!

Kif Leswing 4:56:19 pm

Ohhhh, this video is putting the accent at the beginning of “AMOLED.” Like “Ahhhh-mo-lead”

Kif Leswing 4:55:53 pm

That’s about the same price as the Retina iPad Mini and iPad Air, for what it’s worth.

Kif Leswing 4:55:24 pm

Available in July, with the 10.5-inch version costing $500, and the 8.4 running $399

Kevin C. Tofel 4:55:12 pm

Or one person with 8 fingers can have 8 profiles, right? ;)

Kif Leswing 4:54:36 pm

But the fingerprint reader does work extremely well with Multiuser Mode. 8 people can have their own settings and privacy on the same tablet. That plus Kids Mode will be extremely handy for families. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:54:36 pm

Kif Leswing 4:53:36 pm

“The Galaxy Tab S is the first tablet to have a fingerprint reader.” True, but won’t be by the end of 2014.  

Kevin C. Tofel 4:52:21 pm

Exactly. It would be nice if these were apps put into Google Play so it worked for supported Android devices. *sigh*

Kif Leswing 4:52:19 pm

The Tab S supports 802.11AC MIMO. 

Kif Leswing 4:51:43 pm

Here’s a feature that lets multiple Tab S users all look at the same document simultaneously. Great for enterprise, otherwise, where are you going to find a room with everyone having the same Samsung tablet? 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:51:12 pm

There’s a little phone inside my tablet!!!!

Kevin C. Tofel 4:49:54 pm

Yup, it looks like a little but functional emulator but hard to say until we get our hands on these.

Kif Leswing 4:49:49 pm

You pick up calls on the tablet by pressing a button on the virtual GS5 screen. Not integrated into the notifications, it looks like.

Kif Leswing 4:49:22 pm

The Tab S can actually display a virtual GS5 screen. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:49:08 pm

Agreed. Samsung has been pushing the boundaries with tablet multitasking; I think the ol’ Galaxy Note 2 was the first to have the 2 apps on the screen at one time.

Kif Leswing 4:48:41 pm

Here’s a demo of SideSync. I’m really interested in this. 

Kif Leswing 4:48:14 pm

“Samsung is a pioneer in multitasking on the tablet.” Can’t disagree with you there!

Kif Leswing 4:47:57 pm

Abary has left the stage, and now we’re talking about multitasking on tablets.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:46:19 pm

Kif Leswing 4:45:25 pm

These tablets have a new magnet-free way to connect cases… I wonder if the reason they’re magnet free is because of patent disputes.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:45:20 pm

That small model does like slim and trim, I’ll give them that!

Kevin C. Tofel 4:45:04 pm

Kif Leswing 4:44:49 pm

They’re calling it “titanium bronze”… get out of here, copper and tin!

Kif Leswing 4:44:19 pm

I do like the gold and black color, though. 

Kif Leswing 4:44:11 pm

“Inspired by architectural design and minimalist aesthetics… trimmed with gold for an aura of luxury” – Abary

Kevin C. Tofel 4:43:53 pm

Good questions. And for those that had “super” on their Galaxy Tab S bingo cards, you should have crossed it off 30 minutes ago. ;)

Kif Leswing 4:42:57 pm

Is “super high resolution” the new “high resolution”? Is WQHD worth a “super?”

Kevin C. Tofel 4:42:41 pm

Got Milk?

Kif Leswing 4:41:34 pm

If you’re interested, here are more details:

Kif Leswing 4:41:24 pm

Abary’s giving a tour of Milk Music, which is Samsung’s new pre-installed music subscription app after it shuttered its homegrown one.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:40:45 pm

This is becoming less a product launch event and more like a really long commercial.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:40:04 pm

Kif Leswing 4:39:56 pm

Most of them are just 30-day trials, though.

Kif Leswing 4:39:27 pm

Samsung Galaxy Gifts is an app you probably won’t use after the first day you bring the Tab S home, but there are a fair amount of free goodies. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:38:17 pm

If product placement really worked, we’d all be carrying Sprint phones like Jack Bauer. Just saying…

Kif Leswing 4:37:55 pm

Petey Parker will check his Galaxy S5 while fighting Dr. Octopus.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:37:40 pm

Kif Leswing 4:37:16 pm

Samsung products will be in Marvel movies — that’s what I call leveraging brand synergy.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:36:33 pm

Jarvis is a stage hog.

Kif Leswing 4:35:13 pm

I did not get that Iron Man reference.

Kif Leswing 4:34:15 pm

“This polar bear image you see… is one of our most iconic photos… and we’re bringing it to Android for the first time.” -Sutherland. And with that he’s out. Next partner up: Marvel. As in comics and movies. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:34:14 pm

Is it me or do these interactive magazine functions remind anyone else of a similar presentation by Apple a few years back?

Kif Leswing 4:32:35 pm

I spoke too soon — here’s Adam Sutherland from National Geographic. 

Kif Leswing 4:32:10 pm

And the magazine portion of the road show is over. 

Kif Leswing 4:31:56 pm

I wonder if Samsung cuts a better deal than Apple’s 30% cut of in-app purchases.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:31:30 pm

Kif Leswing 4:30:54 pm

Lee is out — and now here comes the Conde Nast editorial director. Vogue, Vanity Fair, and GQ will be on Tab S. No mention of Wired. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:30:07 pm

Hmmm. I wonder if magazine content providers have to do anything different for Papergarden. 

Kif Leswing 4:29:37 pm

Okay, Lee is talking about Papergarden: a store for online magazines, run by Samsung. They’re “optimized” for Tab S, which I would guess means cropped for a 16:10 screen. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:28:59 pm

For comparison, Apple says the iPad Air runs for 10 hours of video. Samsung gets you an extra episode of OITNB if their claim is accurate.

Kif Leswing 4:28:26 pm

Here’s a Samsung “briefing screen,” like a notification center but Samsung-focused. Google Now not included. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:28:16 pm

Kif Leswing 4:27:02 pm

11 hours of video playback at 1080p? That’s pretty good! 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:26:27 pm

But I do like to read outside.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:26:19 pm

Personal note: I hate the beach. It’s like a ginormous box of kitty litter.

Kif Leswing 4:25:42 pm

Maybe the Samsung Galaxy Tab S will be the first tablet you can read on the beach. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:25:12 pm

It’s a shame Samsung doesn’t open up 3rd party apps to take advantage of the special hardware features. :(

Kevin C. Tofel 4:24:26 pm


Kif Leswing 4:23:51 pm

Adaptive Display, Samsung’s software that changes color balance and saturation on the fly, will only work on seven built-in apps. I wish it could work on, say, Instapaper. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:23:00 pm

Abary is insinuating if you’re using a LCD screen you’ll order the wrong color clothes online. ” And then he says you’ll hate your tablet. No I won’t. I’ll hate my new clothes!

Kif Leswing 4:22:49 pm

“Another benefit of AMOLED is true black — because it means you can ‘turn off’ pixels” – Abary

Kif Leswing 4:22:20 pm

A practical use for better color accuracy. 

Kif Leswing 4:22:07 pm

Abary is insinuating if you’re using a LCD screen you’ll order the wrong color clothes online. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:21:53 pm

They’re getting a bit too technical on why super AMOLED is better, in my opinion. KISS: Keep It Simple Samsung!

Kif Leswing 4:21:09 pm


Kevin C. Tofel 4:19:40 pm

I love me some vibrant Super AMOLED colors.

Kif Leswing 4:19:33 pm

Three benefits of AMOLED: wider color range, deep contrast, and outdoor visibility. 

Kif Leswing 4:18:56 pm

Now Abary’s describing the difference between AMOLED and LCD. 

Kif Leswing 4:18:29 pm

The typography and direction of these short promo videos are excellent — chunky serifs, well dressed model types, they look like a fashion spread in Vogue or Elle. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:17:01 pm

I guess it’s the first SUPER high res AMOLED. Their last one was simply high res. ;)

Kif Leswing 4:16:24 pm

I like Samsung’s AMOLED screens! They’re not for everyone, but boy, do those colors pop. 

Kif Leswing 4:16:09 pm

“World’s first super high resolution AMOLED tablet.” – Abary

Kevin C. Tofel 4:16:08 pm

Kif Leswing 4:15:38 pm

“We’re leveraging our core competency in displays…. to create the optimal viewing experience” – Abary 

Kif Leswing 4:15:01 pm

People are watching longer videos on tablets, Abary says. Used to be more Youtube, now it’s more TV. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:14:29 pm

Kif Leswing 4:13:50 pm

Now it’s Michael Abary, the Senior VP for Samsung Electronics America. 

Kif Leswing 4:13:30 pm

And Lee exits stage center. 

Kif Leswing 4:13:03 pm

That’s something the iPad doesn’t have… yet. 

Kif Leswing 4:12:47 pm

Kids love tablets, so Samsung has given them their own mode: Kids Mode. Kids can unlock the Galaxy Tab S with their fingerprint, so even kids too young to remember passwords can use it. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:12:29 pm

He’s thanking all of the software partners like he just won an Oscar. Or is it me?

Kif Leswing 4:11:32 pm

Oh, good. This tablet will have Netflix and Google Play, I was worried.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:10:54 pm

I wonder what the iOS 8 fans will say about this one. ;)

Kevin C. Tofel 4:10:38 pm

Have to say, I loved the screen on Samsung’s last Super AMOLED tablet, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 in 2011!

Kif Leswing 4:10:30 pm

Although in fairness, Samsung’s been working on SideSync since this time last year. 

Kif Leswing 4:10:09 pm

If you’ve got a Galaxy S5 and a Galaxy Tab S, you can get your calls on the tablet if both devices are connected to the same WiFi network. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:09:45 pm

Kif Leswing 4:09:44 pm

Now he’s talking about a feature called “Sidesync 3.0,” which is a lot like Apple’s Continuity! 

Kif Leswing 4:09:16 pm

Here’s a huge photo of someone’s suited hand, wearing a Galaxy Gear watch, holding the Galaxy Tab S. 

Kif Leswing 4:07:59 pm

Y’know….. “S.” Like the phones. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:07:48 pm

That sounds about right if I had to guess. Not terrible and probably a good chunk of the Android tablet market.

Kif Leswing 4:07:28 pm

And Lee just said the magic words… “Galaxy Tab S”

Kif Leswing 4:06:58 pm

According to his new chart, though, Samsung had 18.3 percent of the global market in 2013. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:06:49 pm

No breakdown of the market by manufacturer though. Clever.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:06:33 pm


Kif Leswing 4:06:15 pm

He’s showing a graph that shows that tablet sales for the industry has risen every year since 2010. Well, duh. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:06:06 pm

Kif Leswing 4:04:20 pm

Samsung’s head of sales for mobile, DJ Lee, has taken the stage. 

Kif Leswing 4:01:45 pm

The show has started. 

Kif Leswing 4:01:36 pm

And the lights have dimmed. We’re getting a promo video. 

Kevin C. Tofel 4:00:43 pm

Tablets are the rumor. Because you know…. Samsung doesn’t have enough tablets to choose from.

Kevin C. Tofel 4:00:15 pm

Perhaps. I hear Kobe Bryant is in town and gunning for you on the court!

Kif Leswing 4:00:08 pm

The name of the game tonight, though, is tablets.

Kif Leswing 3:59:02 pm

Well Kevin, I’m a shoo-in, seeing that Samsung spokesathlete Lebron James probably has something else going on tonight!

Kif Leswing 3:57:38 pm

Kevin C. Tofel 3:56:58 pm

Kif, I hope you practiced your 3 point shooting. There are last minute rumors of a basketball contest after the event and you have to make Gigaom proud. ;)

Kif Leswing 3:55:48 pm

There could easily be 1000 people in attendance. The auditorium seats 5600 and it’s about a quarter full. 

Kevin C. Tofel 3:55:28 pm

Wow, I’ve seen Samsung take events to Radio City, but NEVER “the Garden.” Should be interesting if Samsung takes a similar approach to events past…. which were somewhat odd, to say the least.

Kif Leswing 3:51:15 pm

Kif Leswing 3:48:39 pm

Samsung rented a giant auditorium in the same building that hosted Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night. 

Kif Leswing 3:40:29 pm

Hi! We’re here at the Samsung Galaxy Premiere event at Madison Square Garden. 


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