Samsung has taken the opening salvo against the iPad 2, coming out with the would-be iPad killer, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, at the Super Bowl of the smart phone world, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The tab is more iPad-sized (the better to watch HD movies), runs on the tablet-specific Android Honeycomb platform, takes 8 megapixel photos, allows for improved video chats with a 2 megapixel front-facing camera and includes a one-gigahertz Tegra 2 dual core processor to power everything. Some could say it's steroids-injected version of the 7-inch tab that fell quickly into 2 million hands after its November debut, but this could be a much more evolved and sophisticated device.
Samsung revealed the new tab and a new mobile phone, the Galaxy S II, at an event they called "Unpacked 2011," which looks a lot like an Apple product launch event. (Maybe that's the thing to do now.)
The phone is a souped up version of its smart phone predecessors, with a walloping big 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus screen in a slimmer frame, with the same camera specs as the tab. Also like the tab, it has a dual core processor and supports 1080p video (though the experience will probably be more enjoyable on the bigger screen!). With improved battery life, it will run on Gingerbread (Google Android 2.3). It will also feature some Near Field Communication technology that will allow it to be used as a mobile wallet/payment system.
Dubbed "the ultimate entertainer," the tab is being marketed as a mobile multimedia hub for those who want to take their leisure pursuits — games, e-books, Facebook, Twitter, music and movies/TV shows — on the go. Besides the bigger screen, the dual surround-sound speakers add to that private theater effect. It's also lost the glossy back of the smaller tab and is slimmer.
No word on when U.S. customers might expect to see the 10.1, but it will be sold by Vodaphone in 20 countries before being released to other carriers. Its price also has not been released.
Only a year ago, Apple introduced the iPad to the world, creating a seemingly insatiable hunger that has led to the sale of 7 million units. Now everyone wants to put their tablets in the hands of eager consumers, as we've recently seen with the Xoom and the HP TouchPad. Apple is still teasing as to when it'll release the iPad 2, and rumors of the iPad 3 are already running rampant. With so many contenders chomping at their heels, they might want to get a move on it.
(Reuters contributed to this report.)
More on smart phones, iPad and tablets:
- HP Palm 'TouchPad' tablet unveiled; webOS will be part of PCs, too
- Forget the iPad 2, the iPad 3 is close behind
- Motorola Xoom Android tablet may be first iPad killer