Samsung Galaxy Tab Coming to U.S. On All Four Major Carriers, Wi-Fi-Only Version Coming
Today Samsung announced that their Galaxy Tab will indeed come to American shores in time for the holidays. Just as with the Galaxy S line of smart phones, all four of the major carriers will have their own version of the Tab to push. Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T are all on board, and this is no doubt the reason why the device is Google Certified in the U.S. (just as it was overseas) and has access to Google Mobile Services such as the Android Market. Not keen on a monthly data fee? A Wi-Fi-only version will be available soon.
Samsung showed us the international version of the Tab, so it’s the same as what we saw in Berlin, but there will be some hardware differences between the carriers and different software and service offerings. One thing the U.S. will get that those in Europe and Asia won’t (for now) is Samsung’s Media Hub for downloading and renting TV shows and movies. Though exact pricing isn’t yet known (it’s said to be “competitive”) Samsung is working with the likes of MTV networks, NBC, Paramount, and Universal. (No ABC/Disney or Fox yet.) Also, titles purchased via Media Hub can be played on up to five devices — meaning Galaxy S phones. PC access is coming soon, TV access wasn’t outright denied, but the executives were mum on that aspect.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the Reader Hub made it over the pond, but users can still download the Kobo, PressDisplay, and Zinio apps. There is a Daily Briefing app for unifying weather, news, stocks, etc. The Social Hub we saw on Galaxy S phones will unify social networks, messages, e-mails, and more into one app. And the unified calendar will make keeping track of appointments and events across services easy.
Seeing that Google has recently been down on the Froyo experience on Android, Samsung assured the crowd that many apps from the Market will fill the 7-inch, 1024 x 600 resolution screen. Those that don’t will be framed and centered on the screen, which doesn’t look terrible, but we’re sure many people will complain about.
As there are two cameras on the Tab — a 3MP one on the back and a 1.3MP one on the front — Samsung did a quick demo of two-way video chat over Qik. It resembled the experience we’ve had on the Evo 4G with the same app. The quality isn’t bad, but the framerates aren’t terribly smooth. On the Tab, Qik will only work over Wi-Fi, which is probably a smart move considering our own experience with it over 3G. Here’s a short shot of the demo:
Samsung’s 1-GHz Hummingbird CPU inside promises smooth 3D graphics, 1080p video capabilities, and full support for Flash 10.1. We’ll be interested to see how it stacks up against Nvidia’s Tegra 2, especially as time goes on and new releases of Android appear.
Some of the accessories we saw in Berlin are available for the Tab here as well. The $49 Desktop Dock will allow for full HD output via HDMI, the $99 Keyboard Dock will also power and sync and includes a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the car dock lets users take advantage of Google Maps Navigation Beta and mounts to the dash or windshield.
Pricing and release dates are fuzzy right now, probably because each carrier will offer something different. But you should expect to see the Tabs in stores in time for holiday shopping season. Click here for our full hands-on with the Galaxy Tab plus video or peruse the gallery below: