The Samsung Galaxy Tab represents the first best shot an Android tablet has at putting a dent into the Apple iPad’s tablet market dominance. Judging from the buzz the Tab has created, it just might succeed in becoming the first real iPad alternative.
The first evaluation units are rolling out to reviewers as I type this (yes, TabletPCReview is working on a review), so let’s go to the tale of the tape.
Tale of the Tape: Apple iPad versus Samsung Galaxy Tab
|Specs||Samsung Galaxy Tab||Apple iPad|
|Screen||7 inches||9.7 inches|
|Resolution||1024 x 600||1024 x 768|
|Operating System||Android 2.2
(update to 3.0 rumored)
(iOS 4.2 coming in November)
|Processor||1GHz Cortex A8||1GHz Apple A4|
|Graphics||PowerVR SGX 540||PowerVR SGX 535|
(up to 32GB)
|Connectivity||3G, Bluetooth 3.0,
802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
|3G optional, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR,
802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
3MP rear camera
|Weight||.84 lbs||1.5 lbs|
On paper, the Samsung Galaxy tab is more powerful, more portable, lighter, and has both expandable storage and two cameras, while the iPad has none. The Galaxy Tab will also support video conferencing over WiFi, a feature Apple will almost certainly include on the next-generation iPad, as well as Flash, a feature Apple iPad fans will probably never see.
Apple’s App Advantage
If the iPad has one advantage, it is in the App Store. While the Galaxy Tab is one of the few Android tablets with direct access to the Android Market, the app selection doesn’t compare to Apple’s. The App Store has more than a quarter of a million apps. The Android Market number ranges from the high five figures to more than 100,000, depending on whom you ask.
The iPad may also have an advantage in pricing. While the lowest priced iPad, the 16GB Wi-Fi unit that runs $500, is more expensive than the rumored Galaxy Tab price — $400 with a two year agreement, at least from Sprint and T-Mobile; $600 and up, unsubsidized — those pining for an Android tablet are probably hoping for something less expensive, especially considering top-of-the-line Android smartphones like the EVO 4G and Samsung Galaxy series routinely cost less than $250 at launch, with an agreement. Also, the iPad 3G contract is month to month and requires no multi-year agreement. If the rumors are correct, the Galaxy Tab carriers will not emulate this model and that will drive the total cost of Galaxy Tab ownership past the iPad.
Ultimately, the Samsung Galaxy Tab doesn’t offer much more in terms of functionality than the 4.3-inch EVO 4G, which also supports video conferencing and offers data at 4G speeds. In addition, you can make voice calls on the EVO, which was a feature Samsung disabled in the US version of the Galaxy Tab.
A Tablet OS
Finally, the Samsung Galaxy Tab will ship with Android 2.2, aka Froyo. Google representatives have gone on the record as saying Froyo is not optimized for tablets, that it was conceived as a smartphone OS. Google may fix that with Android 3.0, and you can bet the Samsung Galaxy Tab will get that update, but TabletPCReview can’t help but wonder how Froyo might inhibit the Galaxy Tab.
It’s true, the iPad’s iOS is also the same operating system found on the iPhone. But Apple originally conceived the iPhone as a tablet, and developed the operating system specifically for the form factor. In addition, the iOS 4.2 update will bring added tablet functionality to the iPad, including multitasking and wireless printing capabilities.
What do you think? Will the Galaxy Tab live up to the hype? Can it put a dent in iPad sales? Also, be sure to check TabletPCReview soon for a hands-on review of the Galaxy Tab.
Galaxy Tab Preview: