Samsung Readies 7-Inch Tablet With Android 4.0

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Prague, Czech Republic - Samsung plans a worldwide launch beginning in March of its first Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) tablet, the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0).

Like the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, introduced at CES as a hybrid smartphone/tablet, the Tab 2 (7.0) also makes regular circuit-switched cellular voice calls.???

Galaxy Tab 2

The new tablet will be available in a Wi-Fi-only version and a version with both Wi-Fi and 4G 21Mbps HSPA+ cellular technology. The device features HSPA+ in the U.S. 850/1900MHz bands and foreign 900/2100MHz bands. Among the national U.S. carriers, only AT&T offers HSPA+ in the 850/1900MHz band.

Samsung didn't announce whether the Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi/cellular version of the tablet would be available in the U.S. or when. Currently in the U.S., Samsung's current 7-inch tablet, the Tab 7.0 Plus, is available only in a Wi-Fi version.

The new 7-inch tablet features a mix of lower performance and higher performance features and specs compared to the current Tab 7.0 Plus. Though offering Android 4.0 instead of Honeycomb, for example, the Tab 2 (7.0) features a dual-core 1GHz processor, whereas the 7.0 Plus runs on a dual-core 1.2GHz processor. In addition, the new model's front-facing video-chat camera is VGA instead of 2 megapixels, and the rear camera goes to 3 megapixels from 3.2. The new model also features Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ instead of a/b/g/n.

In two advances, however, the new model offers full-HD video capture instead of 720p video capture through its rear camera, and the new model upgrades Samsung AllShare (DLNA networking) to AllShare Play. Like before, AllShare Play enables streaming of smartphone content to other networked DLNA devices, but the new version lets users stream multimedia content to the tablet from PCs, other Samsung smartphones, and third-party cloud services. It also enables device-to-device and device-to-cloud transfers. The tablet also remotely accesses files stored on a home PC even if the tablet is not on the home network.

Both models feature 7-inch WSVGA (1024x600) PLS TFT display, Wi-Fi Direct, USB 2.0 Host, GPS, and Samsung Kies Air, which enables a Wi-Fi connection to a PC or Mac without a preloaded PC app to synchronize phone content, view and manage content such as contacts from the PC, and send SMS messages from the PC.

Like before, the included lithium-ion battery is 4,000mAh.

The new model will be available with 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of embedded memory and microSD slot supporting 32GB cards. The current 7-inch tablet is available worldwide 16GB and 32GB versions plus 64GB MicroSD card slot, but in the U.S., it's available only in a 16GB version.

The new model is a little lighter at 12.1 ounces versus 12.2 ounces but a little thicker at 0.41 inches versus 0.39 inches.

Other features in the new model include Bluetooth 3.0, multi-party video calls via Google+ hangouts, and Samsung's ChatON cross-platform video-chat service, which connects phones of any platform. ChatON uses phone numbers instead of IDs and passwords to provide instant messaging and group chatting with voice and video, the company said.

In the new tablet, Android 4.0's Face Unlock feature unlocks the device via facial recognition software. Like before, the tablet offers Samsung's Music Hub to download more than 17 million tracks and Samsung Readers Hub to access more than 2.3 million e-books, 3,500 magazines and more than 2,000 newspapers in 51 languages. Also like before, the tablet features Game Hub to connect users to game titles, and Video Hub offers more than 1,000 film titles for purchase or rent.

The new model also features Samsung's upgraded Touchwiz user interface, which features widgets for one-step access to users' content in Hubs. The device also offers S Suggest, a new service offering home-screen recommendations of apps suited to users' tastes.


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