Samsung has come out swinging against the iPad 2 at CTIA 2011, not to mention competing Android tablets. Today the company introduced two new slates and a new version of its TouchWiz interface that sits atop Android 3.0. Sure, it might be splitting hairs, but the newly redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1–not to be confused with the “inadequate” Galaxy Tab launched at Mobile World Congress–is technically thinner than Apple’s sequel (.338 inches vs. .34 inches) and weighs less (1.31 vs. 1.33 pounds).
Want to travel even lighter? The new Galaxy Tab 8.9, designed more for productivity than entertainment, has the same thinness but weighs 1.04 pounds. Both Android 3.0 slates feature a 1-GHz dual-core processor and 1280 x 800 displays with PLS (Plane to Line Switching) technology for superior viewing angles. You also get dual cameras: 2-MP on the front and 3-MP on the back with 720p video recording and flash. Other key specs include 1o hours of battery life, 16GB of memory on the 8.9-inch Tab, and 16 or 32GB on the 10-inch model.
Update: This morning Samsung also announced pricing for the Wi-Fi versions of these tablets. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 will cost $469 for the 16GB version and $569 for the 32GB model while the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will cost $499 / $599 for its 16 and 32GB versions.
Things get even more interesting on the software front.Samsung has revamped it TouchWiz interface for tablets, creating a favorites bar of apps you can launch by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. You also get resizable widgets, and a new Social Hub that keeps your messaging and social feeds in separate tabs. We like how Samsung’s widgets turn transparent when moving them around the screen. However, you can’t change what apps show up in the favorites bar. Samsung also bundles Quickoffice HD editor for staying productive.
Befitting its entertainment aspirations, the new 10.1-inch Tab sports dual stereo speakers. Both the Tab 8.9 and 10.1 also feature SIM Card slots and microSD expansion. Samsung is promising up to 10 hours of battery life for each slate. Expect availability this summer for Wi-Fi only versions of the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1. However, we do know both slates will also support 21 Mbps HSPA+ data, which means T-Mobile could be first in line.
Want to see just how thin these Tabs are? Check out the gallery and video below, as well as a video of the TouchWiz UX in action on the older, chunkier Tab 10.1.