Category Tablets

iPad 2: Initial Impressions

After spending my first week with Apple’s latest tablet, I offer a few cursory observations on — and from — my iPad 2.

Apple iPad coming to Verizon Wireless and AT&T stores October 28

That’s right. On October 28, you’ll be able to walk into a Verizon Wireless or AT&T store and walk out with an Apple iPad. Verizon will be selling the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB WiFi versions of Apple’s tablet bundled with a MiFi Mobile Hotspot for $629, $729, and $829 respectively. Data plans start at $20 for 1GB of data per month and are commitment-free.

AT&T will be matching Big Red’s prices on iPad hardware except that they are offering the 3G + WiFi models obviating the need for a separate device for mobile data. AT&T’s data plans are the same metered ones they introduced in June for smartphones: $15 for 250MB/mo or $25 for 2GB/mo. Note that AT&T’s data plans for iPad are also unfettered of the bonds of contractual obligation.

Official press releases after the break.

So, who’s getting one for the holidays?

Forget the BlackPad, RIM throws out BlackBerry PlayBook at DevCon

Color me surprised. Even with the rumors that RIM was using a completely new OS in its forthcoming tablet, I was expecting to be underwhelmed. But a 7″ 1024 x 600 capacitive multi-touch LCD powered by a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 with dual HD cameras running on BlackBerry Tablet OS — a quasi iOS/webOS hybrid developed by RIM’s recent acquisition QNX — all in a package less than 0.5″ inches thick and weighing under one pound is a hard thing not to get excited about.

Then again, RIM’s PlayBook is not set for release until early 2011. By then, Motorola, HTC, and HP will probably have similar offerings — and, of course, the iPad 2 will redefine the tablet space again, too. For RIM’s sake, I hope the PlayBook lives up to its hype. Official preview and press release after the break.

‘Froyo is not optimized for use on tablets’

Hugo Barra, director of products for mobile at Google:

Android is an open platform. We saw at IFA 2010 all sorts of devices running Android, so it’s already running on tablets, but the way Android Market works is it’s not going to be available on devices that don’t allow applications to run correctly. […] Which devices do, and which don’t will be unit specific, but Froyo is not optimized for use on tablets. […] We want to make sure that we’re going to create a application distribution mechanism for the Android market, to ensure our users have right experience.

I really wonder if companies like Samsung aren’t jumping the gun with their tablet exploits after reading this quote. The Galaxy Tab is a nice piece of hardware, but how attractive will it be if it can’t run apps from Android Marketplace, especially when a proper Android tablet — presumably running Android 3.0, aka Gingerbread, or Chrome OS — pops up early next year?

Source: TechRadar via Engadget

Samsung Galaxy Tab headed to all four major US carriers

Officially unveiled at IFA at the beginning of the month, it was only a matter of time before Samsung gave us details on the US launch of its Android-based iPad competitor the Galaxy Tab. At a press conference in New York City on Thursday, Samsung revealed just how seriously it wants to be a player in the tablet market, announcing that it would release a version of the Galaxy Tab on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the coming months. It performed a similar feat with its Galaxy S line of Android smartphones, bringing slightly modified versions to each of America’s four largest mobile service providers within the course of a few months.

The Galaxy Tab is a 7″ 1024 x 600 TFT LCD capacitive display running Android 2.2 (Froyo) overlaid with a TouchWiz skin and has a 1GHz Hummingbird SoC under the hood. Each carrier will get the same hardware minus the cellular radio inside, although there will be several software tweaks to differentiate each version. The Galaxy Tab will support Adobe Flash Player 10.1 out of the box and includes Samsung’s Social Hub application designed to keep users connected. Launching alongside the device will be a new service dubbed Media Hub — Samsung’s attempt at an iTunes rival — that will serve as a competitively priced content portal for movies and TV shows. Media Hub will also allow up to five enabled devices to share purchased content.

No price has been announced for any US version of the Galaxy Tab. Unlocked versions around the world seem to be selling for around $1000, though carrier subsidies should take a hefty chunk off that price tag here in the States. Even still, it would require an additional contract and monthly fee to own a Galaxy Tab unless carriers announce some sort of phone/tablet package deal. You can also forget about using the Galaxy Tab as a phone since all US versions will have their cellular voice capabilities blocked. And for those on Sprint, there’s no WiMAX radio in yours and Qik will only run over WiFi.

It should be noted that a WiFi-only version of the Galaxy Tab is also planned to launch stateside for those averse to signing another contract. However, it remains to be seen whether Samsung can price it competitively enough to stave off would-be iPad owners this holiday season.

Samsung’s official press release is available after the break.

iOS 4.2 beta 1 available for developers, brings multitasking to iPad

Apparently, IE9 wasn’t the only notable beta release announced yesterday. With iOS 4.1 going public only last week, Apple has taken the initiative to seed developers with the fruits of its next labor. Announced at Apple’s media event on September 1, iOS 4.2 will be available for all iDevices come November save for the original iPhone and iPod Touch.

iPad owners, however, have a special reason to rejoice over iOS 4.2’s imminent release as it will finally bring the iPad on par with its brethren. That’s right, the iPad will finally get multitasking, folders, a unified inbox, threaded messaging and Game Center, the first four of which have been available for iPhones and iPods Touch since iOS 4.0 was released back in June.

Also coming in iOS 4.2 will be two new wireless services dubbed AirPrint and AirPlay. As their names suggest, AirPrint will enable iOS devices to directly print mail, photos, web pages and more over a wireless network, while AirPlay will allow them to wirelessly stream and share multimedia with other AirPlay supported devices, including but not limited to Apple TV and AirPort Express. Subtler enhancements that have been gleaned in iOS 4.2 include the ability to search within a web page in Safari and the option to use Helvetica in lieu of Marker Felt in the Notes app.

Developers can get in on the action now by clicking the source link below. For the rest of us, though, November can’t come soon enough.

Source: Apple via Gizmodo

Samsung Galaxy Tab officially outed at IFA, September release, price TBA

With the holidays fast approaching — and its tablet already making some teasing appearances online —  it was only a matter of time before Samsung officially introduced its first direct competitor to Apple’s iPad. On Thursday, before its press conference at IFA 2010, Samsung went public with the Galaxy Tab.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab will run Android 2.2, aka Froyo, with a TouchWiz 3.0 overlay on a 7″ Super TFT capacitive touchscreen with 1024 x 600 resolution (WSVGA). The Tab will be powered by Samsung’s own 1GHz Hummingbird SoC that it introduced in its Galaxy S line of phones — an ARM Cortex A8 chip very similar to Apple’s A4. It will boast a PowerVR SGX540 GPU for graphics applications.

As far as connectivity, the Galaxy Tab that was revealed will have quad-band GSM/EDGE and tri-band 3G. Although not officially announced, expect a CDMA version to debut on Verizon before the year is out. The Tab will also sport 5GHz dual-band 802.11n WiFi, A-GPS, and Bluetooth 3.0. Additional features include a 3.5mm headphone jack, an integrated speaker, a 3 megapixel camera capable of recording 720p HD video equipped with an LED flash, and a VGA webcam on the front for video calls. The Galaxy tab will be available with either 16GB or 32GB of built-in flash memory with a microSD slot allowing for up to 32GB of additional storage.

Unlike the iPad, the Galaxy Tab will be able to make voice calls, although it lacks a dedicated earpiece. The Tab will also be capable of playing full 1080p HD video as well as Adobe Flash content. Along with Flash Player 10.1, Swype, Google Navigation, and ThinkFree are a few more killer apps preloaded onto the device. The 4000mAh battery should be capable of 7 hours of video watching or 1000 minutes of talk time.

Samsung plans to launch the tablet some time in September — first in Europe, then Korea, the US, and Asia in the following months. There has been no official word on pricing, although don’t be surprised to see the Galaxy Tab commanding a price tag of over $1000 overseas completely unlocked. Here in the States, I would expect the price to be between $300 to $500 after carrier subsidies to be competitive with Apple’s iPad. It will be interesting to see how the Galaxy Tab will fare with consumers if it requires them to sign another contract. Having said that, it certainly seems like a distinct, viable alternative to the iPad that should attract a loyal following.

Continue on to see Samsung’s Galaxy Tab YouTube commercial and to read their official press release.

webOS 2.0 SDK seeded to developers, new features abound

Palm fans rejoice! The beta SDK for webOS 2.0 is now available for download to Early Access developers. The best mobile operating system just got better. I’ll give my own take on all the latest features — Stacks, Just Type, Quick Actions, third-party Synergy support, Exhibition, and lots more — in the near future. If you can’t wait, hit up the links for a preview of what’s in store for the second coming of webOS.

Source: Palm Developer Center via PreCentral, Gizmodo

Samsung Galaxy Tab spotted in FCC filing sporting GSM, 5GHz WiFi

Could the Samsung Galaxy Tab be coming to AT&T as well? It’s a distinct possibility now that a version of the device has been unearthed in an FCC filing under the name “SHW-M180S”. This version of Samsung’s slate boasts HSDPA connectivity and a quad-band GSM radio that includes an AT&T-friendly 1900MHz radio frequency. An even juicier tidbit is revealed in the paperwork: dual-band 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi that should allow for greater building penetration as well as speeds in excess of 100Mbps. At this rate, we may see a version of the Galaxy Tab launch on every major carrier before the year is through.

Sources: FCC, Global Certification Forum via Engadget

Samsung Galaxy Tab headed to Verizon

With tablets becoming a hot item again with the introduction of Apple’s iPad earlier this year, it is no wonder that Verizon would like to cash in on one of its own during this holiday season. Boy Genius Report has found evidence by way of a screenshot of Verizon’s internal systems that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab — the big brother to the Galaxy S series of smartphones — is indeed coming to Big Red.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab, which has made several teasing appearances online, will have a 7″ screen that runs Android 2.2 on a processor that is reportedly clocked at 1.3 GHz. There has been no definitive information on the resolution of the Galaxy Tab’s screen or whether it will feature Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology. Also no word on whether this is a Verizon exclusive.

The Galaxy Tab will most likely be Verizon’s inaugural tablet offering followed closely by a 10″ Motorola tablet running Android 3.0, aka Gingerbread, and perhaps an HTC tablet running Google’s Chrome OS. Both are rumored to have dual-core Snapdragon processors that will most likely be clocked around 1.5 – 2.0 GHz.

Source: BGR via Android Community, SlashGear