By Harry McCracken | Friday, March 25, 2011 at 11:47 am
At CTIA Wireless earlier this week, Samsung announced a new 10.1″ Galaxy Tab tablet–one with specs that made it thinner and lighter than the iPad 2, with the same starting price of $499. After the press event, I scurried over to the Samsung booth in hopes of getting some hands-on time with the new Tab.
When I got there, I found that the 10.1″ Tabs out on tables were the older, relatively portly version announced last month at Mobile World Congress. The new 10.1-incher (and its 8.9″ sibling) were inside glass cases, and they weren’t powered on. I also discovered that my friend Fritz Nelson of InformationWeek had beat me to the booth–and he told me that he was trying to get Samsung to give him a Tab he could hold and judge.
Looks like he succeeded–he’s published a CTIA tablet roundup that includes a couple of comparison shots of the iPad 2 and a prototype of the new 10.1″ Galaxy Tab–ones which he says show that the Tab–supposedly 8.6mm to the iPad 2’s 8.8mm–is very slightly thicker than the iPad 2. I guess we’ll figure out what the deal is when the Tab shows up in stores, which it’s supposed to do in June.
Me, I was confused about a different aspect of Samsung’s event, which you can watch here:
Much of it was devoted to video clips from the “Samsung Galaxy Tab Interview Project,” which the opening titles said took place on March 3rd in New York, and which was shown to involve inviting busy, successful New Yorkers to try the Galaxy Tab of their choice and share their opinions. The New Yorkers in question were identified as “freelance travel writer” Joan Hess, “independent film director” Karl Shefelman, and “CEO, leading New York real estate firm” Joseph Kolinksi.
As I watched the interviews, I noticed that Shefelman spoke and behaved more or less like a normal person, but Hess and Kolinksi came off as performers dressed for their parts and parroting Samsung talking points. I couldn’t tell whether we were supposed to take the clips as a documentary or a mockumentary. So I Googled around and couldn’t find any references to a travel-writing Joan Hess (one with, as she said, a following on Twitter) or a real-estate CEO Joseph Kolinski.
I did notice, however, that freelance travel writer Joan Hess bears a striking resemblance to New York actress Joan Hess:
And that real estate CEO Joseph Kolinski could be New York actor Joseph Kolinksi‘s twin brother:
A thin, light Honeycomb tablet starting at $499 still sounds like a good idea to me. I just feel like it’s not clear whether Samsung has one that’s actually thinner than the iPad 2 yet, or whether it came up with the specs before it had a prototype to match them–and also decided to build its own happy Galaxy Tab users rather than find them in the wild.
[FURTHER THOUGHTS: Did Samsung mean for us to understand that these were imaginary users or not? The more I think about it, the more befuddled I get. The Raw Feed’s Mike Elgan points out that the company’s PR director earnestly described the “project” during the event in a way that made it sound real. And commenter Karl notes that Samsung referred to the users’ tales as “true-life stories.” But the bits with Hess and Kolinski are so profoundly artificial that they could have involved Madge the Manicurist and the Maytag Repairman. Actually, Kolinski seems to be channeling a certain real-life “leading New York real-estate CEO.”]
[ODD SIDELIGHT: Technologizer commenter Phil Earnhardt noticed another funny curiosity about the video that somehow escaped my attention, but really shouldn’t have.]