Samsung Galaxy Tab(let) to go mainstream?

August 24, 2010: 8:43 AM ET

With other big names like Motorola and HTC still at least a few months away from announcements, Samsung may be the first big name to market with a Google Android tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Tablet compared to phone

Samsung is expected to officially reveal their Android tablet on September 3rd at the IFA conference in Berlin. Gadget geeks are waiting with bated breath on any news of a first tier manufacturer who dares take on Apple's iPad with an Android device.

Judging by the strong reaction to the cheap Augen Kmart Android device, it seems like there might be some pent up demand for an Android tablet, especially at lower prices than the iPad, which fetches anywhere from $500-$830 in the US.

In fact, Gizmodo is running a survey of its readers on whether they'd rather have an Android tablet (sight unseen) or an Apple iPad. Surprisingly, without one available on the market, more of their tech-focused readers are interested in an unreleased Android device over an iPad.  As of this morning, a surprising 58% of them (below) would rather have the Android OS on their tablets.

Android device numbers have globally caught up to Apple's iOS devices in the less than two years since the first Android device, the G1, was released.  Samsung released its Galaxy S Android phones this summer, which have been an immediate success.  Samsung announced a million devices sold in the first thirteen days, without even launching in the US.  Samsung subsequently announced 900,000 devices had been sold in S. Korea alone in the first quarter of sales.  Galaxy S smartphones will be on all major and some minor US carriers by October.

There have been no shortage of leaks of Samsung's tablet device, including one from the official Samsung Twitter feed (above right).  Two more leaks (below) have emerged in the last 24 hours which are shedding more light on Samsung's Galaxy tablet.

A Chinese Site today called posted more pictures of the device with some additional information.

The prototype they used is running Android 2.2 which allows Voice Actions and plays Adobe's Flash-enabled websites and content.  The keyboard input has Swype enabled for speedy text entry.

It also has an Apple-like (or Dell Streak-like) 30-pin connector at the bottom.  The screen is a 16:9 1024x600 pixel Super AMOLED according to the tip.   That puts it at the same pixel resolution as the iPad in length but 168 pixels thinner.  This will be a widescreen viewing experience.

What will set this apart from the iPad is its front and rear facing cameras which are VGA and 3.2 megapixels respectively.  It is also said to be much lighter and 'plastic-ier' than Apple's iPad. The post said it was an excellent e-Reader.

The device is also said to have GPS with Google turn by turn Maps, which should make an incredible navigation device for driving.

To imagine a commuter use case, you have to venture to Australia where someone on a train was playing with one yesterday.

Notice he's holding it in one hand much more like a phone than one would hold an iPad.  You can't wrap your hand around an iPad like that unless you are a giant.  At 1.5 pounds, the iPad isn't comfortable for long periods of time in one hand either.

For those interested in a smaller sized 'tablet', Samsung will be releasing a 4-inch, iPod-like Galaxy product in its Yepp MP3 player line running Android as well.

Obviously, Samsung isn't alone in building Android tablets as just about every manufacturer from California to Shenzhen is readying one for Christmas.  As the Motorola Droid proved with its stunning success however, being the first big name to market does offer advantages.

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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