Samsung's big hardware upgrade to its first-ever tablet, the 7-inch Galaxy Tab, had a name as of the device's announcement late last month. And Samsung has now finally gotten around to announcing a release date and price for the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. According to the company, the upgraded version of the Galaxy Tab will start selling in the U.S. on November 13 for $399.99 – all of $100 less expensive than the starting price for tablets from Samsung's chief rival as of late, Apple (it's also much smaller than the iPad as well.)
So what are some of the big improvements arriving on this 7-inch tablet refresh? For starters, the 7.0 Plus is taking a leap from Android 2.2 to Android 3.2 – that's a move from the Froyo iteration of Google's operating system to Honeycomb. Samsung's still slapping its Touchwiz interface on top of Honeycomb, which includes new resizable widgets and a sticky "mini app" tray that can be pulled up from any screen on the device and used to load a variety of preset apps on the device.
Samsung on Monday offered the first glimpse of a new 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab tablet with Google's Android 3.1 Honeycomb that will be available Oct. 2, as well as two new media players, the Galaxy Player 4.0 and Galaxy Player 5.0.
"These three additions to the Galaxy family of products are impressive examples of our commitment to offering consumers an unrivaled array of choices for entertainment and information on-the-go," said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile, in a statement.
"People want their mobile device to fit their lifestyle and the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Players offer unparalleled power and portability to meet the widest consumer needs."
The Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab 8.9 (pictured above left and below) comes in two flavors, a 16GB tablet priced at $469, and a 32GB version priced at $569, the company said at its Samsung Experience event in New York. Samsung's Galaxy Player 4.0 is priced at $269 and the Galaxy Player at $229—b;oth; are set for U.S. release on Oct. 16.
Samsung expanded its Galaxy family with the announcement of a 7.7-inch Galaxy Tab tablet, and the Galaxy Note, a smartphone that blurs the tablet-phone line with its sprawling 5-inch screen and bundled stylus for quick memo-taking, or what Samsung terms "free-idea capturing." The Galaxy Note combines a Galaxy Tab tablet with a Galaxy S smartphone and adds the benefits of pen and paper, the company said in a briefing here at IFA.
Running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the 6.8-ounce Galaxy Note is .37-inch thick and packs an unspecified dual-core 1.4GHz processor, an 8-megapixel back camera that captures HD video, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 2500-mAH battery. Battery life was not disclosed.
But the most notable aspect of the Galaxy Note—which, again, is a slab-style smartphone, with an earpiece and a microphone, not a tablet—is its big 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED 1,280-by-800 (285ppi) WXGA display. Five inches, Samsung believes, is the perfect size to allow for 24/7 portability and single-handed operation, but still offer a large-enough display that eliminates the need to carry a tablet in addition to your phone. Consumers want to carry a single device when they're on the go, the company said.
An announcement for the super-slim, super-powerful, and super-popular Android smartphone is expected on August 29. Samsung sent out invitations for a "major product announcement" in New York that day and on Friday, Samsung Mobile U.S. tweeted: "Samsung Update: Hey Guys! Big announcement on the 29th ; )"
The Samsung Galaxy S II is Samsung's fastest- selling smartphone to date, based on its April debut in South Korea and parts of Europe, selling one every three seconds between April and July.
If you've been hoping for a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but need to get that blazing fast 4G LTE as part of the package, then July 28 is your day. Verizon Wireless has been spreading 4G LTE across the nation, and we know that it's definitely quick, and now you can get Samsung's latest tablet with an LTE antenna built right in. There'll be two models available in white and gray, and the pricing is a bit ridiculous (even with two-year contract.) We're looking at $529.99 for the 16 GB model, and $629.99 for the 32 GB alternative. Data plans start at $30 per month for 2 GB of service. It's a pretty penny, but that's what you get for not being able to kick that early adopter habit, ya know?
As patent blogger Florian Mueller noted on Saturday, Apple is pushing for a an injunction over Samsung devices to take place on September 8, claiming they rip off the look and feel of Apple iPhones and iPads. Meanwhile, Samsung has proposed a hearing date of October 14. Apple's original request for an August 5 hearing was denied by the judge as too soon.
Apple's aggression is an obvious way to make things as difficult as possible for Samsung, since the injunction would force Samsung to cease sales of four products: the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Mueller thinks presiding Judge Lucy Koh will choose a hearing date sometime between the two proposals, skewed towards Apple.
A federal judge last week ordered Samsung to hand over several unreleased cell phones and tablets to Apple as part of the latter's lawsuit against Samsung claiming patent and trademark infringement, as first reported by Courthouse News Service.
"Apple has demonstrated good cause for some, limited expedited discovery," said Judge Lucy Koh last Wednesday in a ruling for Apple in its request for samples of five Samsung products earlier than would normally be granted in such cases.
At the time of the ruling, Samsung had 30 days to deliver product samples, packaging and package inserts pertaining to its Google Android-based Galaxy S2, Infuse 4G, and Infuse 4G LTE smartphones, as well as two tablets, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Samsung will not be required to provide Apple with testimony from its executives.
At the Google I/O 2011 conference, Android product management director Hugo Barra held up a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 as an example of new exciting form factors using Google's mobile OS, adding, "it's not available to anyone yet ... with one exception: conference attendees."
You can guess the cry of elation that erupted in the auditorium. And it wasn't unjustified, based on our first impressions of the device. Most laymen could easily mistake it for an iPad 2, but it's a tad lighter at 589 grams (1.3 pounds), and has a larger, higher-resolution 10.1-inch display, at 1,280-by-800, compared with the iPad's 1,024-by-768. This means it can play full 1080p HD video, at a maximum of 30 frames per second.
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 unboxing
The invite asks "What's your Tab life?" with the numbers "78910." The Android-powered Galaxy Tab already exists in 7-inch and 10.1-inch sizes. Last month, rumors said Samsung was prepping an 8.9-inch version, which would fit the "89" between the 7 and 10 on the invitation.
"Curious about the secret behind 78910? Come discover what the buzz is all about and join us on our journey as we experience a world of endless technological possibility. We'll unveil our latest mobile products and innovations and explore the exciting new consumer lifestyles they make possible," the invite reads.
2010 will come to an end in just a few short hours, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, but Microsoft gets the top two spots with our Xbox 360 dashboard tour, and the an unboxing of the new Xbox 360 slim. Also getting an honorable mention is the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Popcorn Hour Popbox, among others.