Samsung's announcement of a new, larger 10.1-inch tablet shows the industry believes a range of tablet form factors will be supported by the market.
As 2011's horde of tablet challengers
bear down upon the iPad, the original tablet alternative, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, is set to receive a sizeable upgrade, literally. The Tab range is expanding to include the new Galaxy Tab 10.1, which will offer a 10.1-inch screen, significantly larger than the 7-inch screen that ships with the original.
This bump up in terms of screen real estate means the 10.1 can offer a decidedly higher WXGA resolution at 1,280 x 800 pixels, markedly improving on the first Tab's 1,024 × 600 display (and also beating the iPad's 1,024 x 768 resolution, achieved at 9.7 inches).
Essentially this elevates the web browsing experience from a netbook-level, compromised display where many sites simply aren't viewable at optimal levels to a much more practical (and finessed) degree, and the bigger screen is also leading Samsung to tout the 10.1 as an "Entertainment Powerhouse". Or, as DJ Lee, Samsung's Executive Vice President and Head of Sales & Marketing, said: "it enables users to enjoy multimedia to the maximum extent without having to compromise mobility."
Bolstering this claim are the Tab 10.1's other specs. It will run Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) on a 1GHz dual-core CPU, features dual-surround sound speakers, an 8MP rear-facing camera (2MP front-facing), Flash 10.1 support, and will be available in 16GB and 32GB incarnations. All this at a feather 600g and just 10.9mm thick.
It will be interesting to see if Samsung's lead on the other manufacturers shows: the 10.1 will be Samsung's second tablet implementing Android, and is expected to be released in the US in March. This timeframe will put it up against a strong field of competitors: namely Apple's iPad 2, Motorola's Xoom, RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook, HP's TouchPad and LG's G-Slate (you can read more on this grouping here
In terms of a local release, Vodafone (who will be first to market with the device internationally) has confirmed it will carry the 10.1 in Australia but is not releasing further details as yet. Watch this space.