New York - Samsung will launch its Galaxy Tab mobile tablet through the four largest U.S. wireless carriers in the next few weeks as part of a bid to become "a major player" in a market expected to grow 45 percent annually in the U.S. during the next five years, said Samsung Telecommunications America president Dale Sohn.
During a press conference here Thursday evening Samsung also announced the immediate availability of its movie and TV-show download service optimized for the Tab and the company's Galaxy S smartphones. The service, called the Samsung Media Hub, features new movie releases and library titles for purchase and rent as well as TV shows for purchase, including episodes that air the previous day, said Gavin Kim, content, services and enterprise mobility VP. The content can be downloaded via Wi-Fi over the 3G-equippped Tabs, he said.
Content is available from MTV Networks, NBC, Paramount, Universal Studios and Warner, with more studios to come, Kim said.
Content will be viewable as it downloads, and purchased content will be viewable on up to five Galaxy devices registered to the same account, Kim said.
As for the Galaxy Tab, the company said a Wi-Fi only version is due "in the near future" to join the 3G/Wi-Fi versions to come through AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Pricing wasn't announced for the carrier versions, which double as cellphones for voice calling through a built-in speakerphone function and via a Bluetooth headset. There is no hard dialing keypad or hard QWERTY keyboard.
All versions feature wide 7-inch WSVGA 1,024 by 600-pixel enhanced-TFT multitouch display, 1GHz processor, video chat, and the latest Android 2.2 OS, which enables viewing of Web video and Web-based games in the Flash 10.1 format.
All will "set the standard for the mobile tablet market," said chief strategy officer Omar Khan, without mentioning Apple's iPad by name. He called the Tab "one of the most heavily researched products in our history." The extensive consumer research yielded a compact size that allows for one-handed operation, two-thumb typing on a virtual keyboard in landscape mode, and ability to fit inside a sport-jacket pocket and the back pocket of jeans, given its 7-inch screen size and thickness of 0.47 inches.
At 13 ounces, Khan continued, the Tab is half the weight of "portable 10-inch tablets." It also delivers long battery life through a 4,000mAh battery that delivers seven hours of continuous video playback.
Other features include built-in GPS to support such Google services as Google Maps Navigation turn-by-turn driving instructions with traffic updates. Samsung, in fact, sees the device doubling as a portable navigation device (PND) in the car and launched a $99.99 docking station that mounts to a windshield or car dashboard and rotates freely between landscape and portrait modes.
The Tab will come preloaded with native applications developed by Samsung for such functions as media playback, email and calendar, but Google Mobile services, including turn-by-turn navigation, will also be available. In addition, the device will download apps from the Android Marketplace, and although those apps were written mainly for small-screen smartphones, many will open in full screen, the company said. Non-scalable Android applications will be framed and centered on the Galaxy Tab screen.
The device will also feature a Document Viewer & Editor app to open and make changes to any Word, Excel, Powerpoint or PDF document.
The device will be equipped with the Samsung Readers Hub, which taps into the Kobo, PressDisplay and Zinio download sites to access books, magazines and newspapers via Wi-Fi and cellular.
Other features include HD video playback and Wi-Fi 802.11n for sharing content wirelessly with DLNA-certified TVs and PCs.It provides mobile hot spot capability for up to five Wi-Fi devices.
A back-facing 3-megapixel camera with flash captures DVD-quality video, said Khan. A front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera is available for videochats.
Besides the car dock, Samsung will also make a $49.99 desktop dock that uses the MicroUSB wall adapter that comes with the Tab. The dock also lets users view movies and digital pictures as well as listen to music through connected speakers. The dock's HDMI output lets users view stored HD content on connected HDTVs enabled with 1080p resolution.
A $99.99 keyboard dock comes with full-size keyboard and doubles as a charger. It comes with stereo audio output jack for connecting a stereo system.