Berlin was the host to a quarter million technology enthusiasts during the first week of September, as IFA, the biggest consumer electronic trade show in Europe, was held for the 51st time. Attendees witnessed global premiers of numerous devices, with tablets grabbing the most headlines, though the current patent war between Samsung and Apple also stole some of the spotlight.
Everything began with Samsung’s big spectacle a day before the official show opening, when they presented the Galaxy Tab 7.7, a fitting successor to the first Samsung Galaxy Tab that was showcased at this event exactly a year ago. Also on display was the first “tabphone”, the 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note.
Although Galaxy Note did not generate much mainstream buzz due to its unusual concept, Galaxy Tab 7.7 garnered much praise from those who tried it. As we stated in our hands-on preview, the Tab 7.7’s exceptional Super AMOLED Plus screen delighted us with its brightness, imaging purity, sharpness and color vivaciousness. We also had good things to say about its dual core 1.4 GHz processor and the tablet’s slim design. At a glance, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 seemed to best the Apple iPad 2 in terms of hardware.
However, the excitement over Galaxy Tab 7.7 did not last long. On the second day of the show, Samsung was forced to remove it entirely from its exhibition area; this included all the paneling, tables and accompanying objects that communicated with the device in any way. The reason was due to a court order procured by Apple, citing various design patent infringements as part of a larger lawsuit.
Interestingly, Galaxy Tab 10.1 sale ban has been in effect in Germany for a while now, also due to possible breach of Apple’s patents, but IFA is not a trade show with exhibitioners selling their devices to purchasers – they only display their devices to attendants. This is why the sudden move to ban the impressive Galaxy Tab 7.7 seemed a desperate move by the Mac-maker.
As some comfort to everyone who wanted to try the Galaxy Tab 7.7, Apple overlooked the fact that one Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet was displayed at the Deutsche Telekom exhibition area, which showcased all the tablets it is planning to distribute. The German carrier did not receive a court order.
Note Still There
Fortunately, the Samsung Galaxy Note, was not banned at IFA, and given the commotion it caused on the show floor, it is clear that many users are clamoring for a device that was bigger than the biggest smartphone, while at the same time, smaller than the smallest tablet.
The Galaxy Note will come with an 800 x 1280-pixel, 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display, and a pressure sensitive pen that can be used for writing notes and drawing across the screen. The device memory and processing capacity is the same as Galaxy Tab 7.7, and it weighs .4 pounds while having .4-inches of thickness. We got our hands on both the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Samsung Galaxy Note in Berlin and were extremely impressed with the display and design, above all else. Read our full report here:
Toshiba and Sony Also in Berlin
Samsung wasn’t the only company with a new tablet at IFA. Toshiba presented its Thrive successor, dubbed the AT200, and decorated a large section of its exhibition area with headline calling the AT200 the slimmest 10-inch tablet in the world. After testing it out, we can safely say that the AT200 is exceptionally slim, very light even, and fast with its 1.2 GHz dual core processor. However, the screen imaging is not nearly as impressive, especially compared to the Super AMOLED devices we tested earlier. Check out our AT200 hands-on report:
Sony occupied an entire pavilion in Berlin and placed its two tablets in the limelight: the Tablet S and Tablet P. This was our first chance to see the unique tablets up close, and their biggest advantage is certainly their unusual, but up-to-date, build. The 9.4-inch Tablet S is perhaps the most comfortable to hold on the market thanks to its “folded over” design, while the dual-screen clamshell Tablet P reminded us of a handheld gaming console suitable for mobile Internet access.
Both devices seem very polished, and have an exceptionally abundant set of applications added by Sony. Read our in-depth preview:
Other Tablets on Hand
Lenovo displayed its 7-inch IdeaPad A1, which is a budget Android Gingerbread tablet with a dual core processor. Its price will be under $200 and it seems to be the first budget tablet created by a brand-name device maker.
Finally, Archos showed off its 8-inch tablet, the 80 G9, and a 10-inch tablet, the 101 G9. Both devices will ship with a 1.5 GHz processor and Android OS 3.2.