By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 8:58 am
Greetings from the CTIA Wireless show in Orlando, where Samsung just announced two new Galaxy Tab tablets running Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The new version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a 10.1″ display at 1280 by 800, a 1-GHz dual-core CPU, dual-antenna Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel camera in the back and a 2-megapixel one up front. And at 8.6mm and 595 grams, it’s slightly thinner and slightly lighter than the surprisingly thin and light iPad 2. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 is a similar tablet with a screen that’s a bit smaller than the one on the iPad 2 rather than a bit larger.
Both Tabs will run a custom version of Honeycomb topped off with a new tablet-specific edition of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface and a bunch of Samsung services–and as usual with modified versions of Android, I wanna try it in person before I come to any conclusions about whether it makes the experience better or worse.
The most interesting thing about these new Tabs aren’t the specs–which look like what you might expect from a thoroughly modern Android-based tablet–but the pricing. The 10.1 will be available in a 16GB version for $499 and a 32GB one for $599 and will be available on June 8th; the 8.9″ will cost $469 for 16GB and $569 for 32GB and will arrive in “early summer.” Assuming no price cuts from Apple in the interim, the Tabs will provide the iPad 2 with real competition at similar price points for the first time. It’ll be fascinating to see how an Android tablet competes when the discussion is all about software, services, hardware, and the integration thereof, rather than about pricetags.