This morning, at the CTIA Wireless 2011 conference in Orlando, Florida, Samsung officially introduced the newest version of its Galaxy Tab, the 8.9-inch edition. For those keeping track, that means that Samsung now has three different Android tablets: the original 7-inch, the 10.1-inch announced in February at Mobile World Congress, and now this medium-sized tablet.
On stage, Samsung execs touted "personal choice" and a strategy where "one size doesn't fit all," but is that the case? Or is this just an expensive experiment in determining which tablets consumers will actually choose, if they're given the option to do so?
The news of the latest tablet, the 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab, was leaked online prior to today's announcement. But Samsung did provide a little surprise this morning - it actually revealed the new device's pricing and launch time frame, along with that of its larger sibling.
The 8.9-inch Tab will retail for $469 for the 16 GB version and $569 for the 32 GB version, and will arrive sometime early this summer. Meanwhile, the larger tablet will be $499 for the 16 GB and $599 for the 32 GB version, and will arrive June 8th.
Small, Medium & Large Tabs
The price differential between the two tablets doesn't represent a wide enough gap to make choosing one tablet on the other an issue of economics, nor are the tablet specs remarkably different either (beyond screen size, of course).
Both will support 4G (HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps, LTE & WiMax support coming in a later version), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Both are powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor. Both have the same 1280x800 HD display and 1080p video playback. Both have a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and a 3-megapixel on in back. Both will run Adobe Flash. Both feature Samsung's new skin designed specifically or Android 3.0 tablet computers, something Samsung calls the "TouchWiz user experience." This UI layer features a customizable, live-updating homescreen filled with widgets and a Mini Apps Tray for launching favorite programs. They also both feature Samsung's Hubs - the portals for interacting with music, media and social content, made available through branded apps.
The 8.9-inch tablet, in particular, measures 8.6mm wide, and weighs 470 g, but both tablets are thinner and light.
But with so many similarities between both devices, it begs the question: why choose one over the other? It almost seems like Samsung is experimenting here - throwing out a bunch of different screen size options and waiting to see which one consumers adopt. It's a very different strategy than the tablet leader, Apple, employs. It makes one iPad, and only one iPad. And it sells.
But is the iPad the ideal tablet size for everyone? Will tablet size become a personal choice issue, similar to how Android phones vary in form factor, too? Will having different screen options be a factor in your tablet choice? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Image credits: Samsung, CNET