Video: Samsung Outhins iPad 2 with Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, Debuts TouchWiz for Tablets

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.

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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  1. James Says:

    The iPad 2 doesn’t even come CLOSE to these tablets. More powerful, more features, better OS, flash support, better cameras, better screens with better resolution, thinner, lighter, better looking…. Was excited about getting iPad 2, but now i’m getting the 8.9 instead. Well done Samsung ;)

  2. Reader Says:

    Well lets see …
    1. “more powerful”: the new devices don’t even turn on yet, by pure specs you simply can’t make this assumption. Xoom is – by specs – faster than iPad 2 yet iPad 2 scores higher in most benchmarks.

    2. “more features”: Besides a MicroSD card slot I see no feature the iPad doesn’t have. Name them!

    3. “better OS”: Debatable, but I’ll leave that to your opinion. I pretty much like my Android phone but I would never buy a device because of its OS, I buy because of what I can do with the device.

    4. “Flash support”: Well yeah if you really need it… Strange how millions can live without it, but ok.

    5. “better cameras”: no argument, isn’t that hard, but do you really do still photos or high quality videos with your tablet? If you need it for video chat, I prefer a smaller low-res image and better call quality over a 3 MP picture with 5fps transmitted over a WiFi hotspot.

    6. “better screens with better resolution”: sorry, again those devices weren’t even turned on, you have no idea what the display is like, but no device currently beats the IPS display Apple uses in display quality. “better resolution” yeah wow I really need those few pixels more, but ok if you do.

    7. “thinner & lighter” well just let’s see what they look like when they are finally working ok they are still preproduction samples, but I’ll concede, well done Samsung!

    8. “better looking”: highly subjective – I still like the sleeker design and the dimensions of the iPad 2 better, but they look decent thats true.

    PS: I DONT own an iPad nor any other device from Apple, besides a battered old iPod Nano

  3. Peter Says:

    @ Reader

    1) low level harware encryption

    2)SAP software

    3) Sybase software

    4) VPN software

    5) Bluetooth 3.0

    6) PLS LCD display ( PLS > IPS)

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