Orlando, Fla. - Samsung will expand its U.S. tablet selection to three screen sizes with the announcement here of a model with 10.1-inch screen and a model with 8.9-inch screen.
The two new models will complement the company's current 7-inch tablet.
The expanded selection of Galaxy Tabs represents a strategy of giving tablet users choices to suit their needs, said senior VP Omar Khan during a press conference here at the CTIA convention. Optimum screen size depends on the user and the user's lifestyle, he said.
Both will feature the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS, whereas the current 7-inch model uses the Android smartphone OS. Both are also thinner at 8.6mm, with the 10.1 model promoted as the industry's thinnest large-screen tablet. The 10.1 was redesigned since its unveiling at the recent Mobile World Congress to be thinner than originally planned, Khan said.
The 10.1 is also said to be the lightest large-screen tablet on the market, at 595 grams.
The Wi-Fi-only version of the 10.1 will be available June 8 in retail stores still to be finalized, Khan announced. The 16GB version will retail for $499, and the 32GB version will retail for $599.
The Wi-Fi-only version of the 8.9 will be available early summer at $469 for the 16GB version and $569 for the 32GB version.
4G versions with LTE, 21Mbps HSPA+ and Mobile WiMAX cellular data technology will be available sometime this year at pricing that Khan said would be competitive.
The 10.1 and 8.9 feature multiple improvements over the current 7-inch Tab models, including dual-core 1GHz processor, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n with dual antennas to improve connection stability, HD PLS LCD display for greater clarity and sharpness, and Samsung's new tablet-optimized TouchWiz 4.0 user interface, featuring customizable homescreen live panels that display such live information as news, email and social-network feeds. The UI also features a mini tray of frequently used applications at the bottom of the screen.
Like the original, the 10.1 and 8.9 feature front- and rear-facing cameras, but camera resolution increases to 8 megapixels for the rear-facing camera with LED flash and 2 megapixels for the front camera. The rear camera will capture 720p video, but the tablets will also store and play back 1080p video.
Other features include Flash 10.2, stereo speakers, a new version of the Samsung Social Hub integrated messaging application, a new Readers Hub to download 2 million books as well as newspapers and magazines, and the Media Hub to download movies and TV shows.
The new Tabs will also be "the most enterprise-friendly Android tablets on the market," promised product planning VP Nicholas DiCarlo. They will offer SAP Business Objects Explorer, Exchange ActiveSync, Sybase software for remote IT-department management, on-device hardware-based encryption, Cisco's AnyConnect VPN, and Microsoft Quick Office for viewing and editing Microsoft Office documents.
Accessories include a SoundStation 2.1-channel docking speaker system, an HDMI dock to connect the tablets to a TV, and a combination book-cover/stand.