Samsung’s much-heralded Android-powered Galaxy Tab tablet device – which will see its first release on Vodafone’s main European networks in October – offers the first real test of both Apple’s iPad and the wider prospects for the tablet market generally.
The new device is in essence a scaled-up version of Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone (as the iPad is to the iPhone/iPod Touch), featuring a seven-inch TFT display. It is perhaps the most credible Android alternative to the iPad launched so far – although an honorable mention must go to the smaller Dell Streak.
Samsung’s credentials as the creator of a true iPad alternative are strong. Along with HTC and Motorola, Samsung has in recent times been among the most successful vendors in taking on Apple in the smartphone desirability stakes.
Samsung has aped Apple both in leaning towards the quality end of the market in terms of hardware and materials and, quite obviously to those who’ve used a Galaxy S, in terms of the overall user experience.
Applying this same thinking to the Galaxy Tab – including adding typical Samsung bells and whistles such as support for the geek-friendly DivX/XviD, Ogg, and FLAC media formats – should therefore provide the basis of a tablet that should be able to compete with the iPad on similar terms.
With its little brother the Galaxy S smartphone already selling well (over 1 million units to date) and demand for the iPad running high (although Apple has not issued any further shipment data since the device passed the 3 million mark in June), it is not unreasonable to expect the scaled-up version to also ship in significant volume. But will it?