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New Tablet Models Fill The Retail Pipeline

NEW YORK — Something old and something new are coming to the U.S. tablet market.

The new includes Samsung’s Galaxy Tab4 series of Android tablets, the first 3G/4G version of Microsoft’s Surface tablet, and the Asus PadFoneX, a first-of-its kind smartphone that turns into a tablet when snapped into a tablet-like “Station.”

Something old is Apple’s fourth-generation iPad, which has been resurrected to replace the even older iPad 2 as the company’s lowest-priced 9.7-inch tablet.

Here’s what the companies announced:

Apple’s fourth-generation iPad with Retina display returns but only with 16GB capacity. The Wi-Fi model is priced at $399, and the 4G LTE /HSPA+ model is priced at $529.

Asus’ PadFoneX will be available soon in the U.S. exclusively on the AT&T network, but the carrier hasn’t announced a specific price or availability date.

During International CES, the carrier said it would offer the device on an exclusive basis but revealed little else about the 5-inch FullHD Android 4.4 phone, which slips into the back of a 9-inch FullHD tablet-like “Station.” The Station enables users to switch screen sizes as needed.

Recently, AT&T revealed additional product specs, including 2.3GHz quad-core CPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal memory, 64GB MicroSD slot, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, assisted GPS and 2,300 mAh battery. The Station’s battery is 4,990 mAh.

The phone’s 1,920 by 1080 Full-HD display features 441 ppi, and the Station’s 9-inch display is 1,920 by 1,200 with 252 ppi.

As previously announced, the phone supports LTEAdvanced technologies, including carrier aggregation, as well as Voice over LTE and HD Voice.

Microsoft’s first 3G/4G version of a Surface tablet is called the Surface 2 (AT&T 4G LTE). It operates on the AT&T 4G network and retails for a suggested $679 with 64GB of built-in storage.

Samsung set second-quarter worldwide availability for its Galaxy Tab4 series of Android tablets, which will have Wi-Fi and 4G LTE versions and replace the Tab3 series.

The fourth-generation Tab series, like the Tab3 series, consists of three models with 10.1-inch, 8-inch and 7-inch screen sizes with 16:10 aspect ratio. Each will be available in black or white. U.S. prices and ship dates weren’t announced at press time.

Last year, the Wi-Fi-only versions of the Tab3 series were launched in the U.S. at $199, $299 and $399. Only the Tab 3 7.0 was available in an LTE versions. They ran on the Sprint and AT&T networks.

Compared with their predecessors, the new models add Android 4.4 OS, quad-core CPUs instead of dual-core CPUs, thinner bezels, lighter weight, and a capacitive recent- apps button below the touchscreen for easier multitasking and quick app switching, a spokesman said. The recent-apps button was introduced on the Note Pro and Tab Pro step-up tablets.

Each of the three new models sports 1.2GHz quad-core processor, whereas the Tab 3 7.0 featured 1.2GHz dual core, the Tab 3 8.0 featured 1.5GHz dual core, and the Tab 3 10.1 featured 1.6GHz dual core.

In other upgrades, RAM and screen resolution go up in select Tab4 models, and the simultaneous display of two apps expands to all models. All Tab4 models get 1.5GB RAM.