Fall CTIA kicks off this week in San Diego, and while smartphones are typically the focus, manufacturers have, in the past, used CTIA for major tablet launches. Just last spring, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab 8.9 at CTIA in Orlando, and Sprint unveiled the EVO View 4G. However, with Samsung abruptly cancelling its Unpacked event, in which the Galaxy maker was expected to launch a new smartphone dubbed the Galaxy Nexus (formerly known as the Nexus Prime) along with the next version of Google Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, this CTIA is shaping up to be light on tablet news.
Well first things first: there was no indication that Samsung was going to announce an Ice Cream Sandwich tablet. But since Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) is supposed to be identical across both the smartphone and tablet platforms, there was a possibility that Samsung would offer the first glimpse at the operating system being demoed on a tablet, perhaps on a recent model like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or 8.9. Doing so alongside a smartphone demo of Ice Cream Sandwich would allow Samsung to show how the operating system is the same on both the big and small screens. It would have also given them an opportunity to show off some of the features of the operating system that maybe work better (or exclusively) with tablet hardware, like increased port selection, larger screens, or more powerful internals.
A Unifying OS
According to Google’s Eric Schmidt, the new Ice Cream Sandwich operating system is scheduled to be released some time in Q4, though details about it are still somewhat scarce. All we know for sure is that Ice Cream Sandwich will unify the existing features of Gingerbread and Honeycomb to make it a universal operating system for both platforms.
Some rumored features include Honeycomb-style multitasking menus, a new camera UI, a new notification bar, and a new Google Apps icon that, when pressed, opens up a tray of available Google services. Unfortunately, it now seems we’ll just have to wait until after CTIA and see to find out what’s true and what’s not.
Other Tablets at CTIA
Despite the lack of Ice Cream Sandwich, TabletPCReview does expect to see some tablets on the show floor. T-Mobile has used the preshow hype to announce the SpringBoard, a 7-inch Honeycomb tablet formerly known as the Huawei MediaPad. Also, Samsung will still be in attendance, as will HTC. As such, CTIA may give the team at TabletPCReview its first chance to try out the HTC Jetstream and new Galaxy Tab models, including the Tab 7.7 and Tab Plus.
Grant Hatchimonji contributed to this report.