Samsung Readies Upgrade to 7-Inch Galaxy Tab

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Seoul, South Korea - Samsung unveiled the successor to its 7-inch Galaxy Tab, adding the tablet-optimized Android Honeycomb OS, making it slightly slimmer and lighter, and adding such hardware upgrades as 1.2GHz-dual-core processor and more embedded memory.

The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus will join the company's Tab 8.9 and 10.1 models, unveiled in March with 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch touchscreens, respectively, and Honeycomb OS.

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The Tab 7.0 Plus was unveiled with 21Mbps HSPA+ cellular-data technology banded for foreign countries, and the company didn't say when U.S.-banded versions would come to the U.S. Samsung also didn't say whether it would, as it did with the original 7-inch Tab, make the successor available in a Wi-Fi-only version alongside versions for the top five U.S. cellular networks.

The 7.0 Plus rollout starts at the end of October in Indonesia and Austria and will be gradually rolled out to Southeast and Southwest Asia, the U.S., Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Japan and China at a timetable that wasn't disclosed.

With the new version, the 7-inch Tab steps up processing power to a dual-core 1.2GHz processor from a single-core 1GHz processor, adds Honeycomb 3.2 tablet OS in lieu of the Android 2.2 (Froyo) smartphone OS, reduces weight to 12.2 ounces from 13.23 to 13.58 ounces depending on the carrier network, and reduces depth to 0.39 inches from 0.47 inches. At 0.39 inches, the 7.0 Plus is slightly thicker than the 0.34-inch depths of the Tab 8.9 and 10.1.

In addition, the 7.0 Plus adds multiple Wi-Fi upgrades, including the addition of Wi-Fi 802.11a to its predecessor's 802.11b/g/n, the addition of Wi-Fi Direct, and the addition of Wi-Fi channel bonding, which accelerates Wi-Fi speed.

The tablet will be available with either 16GB or 32GB of embedded memory with 64GB MicroSD card slot. In contrast, most U.S. versions of the current 7-inch Tab features 16GB of embedded memory with 32GB MicroSD slot, although the Verizon-network version of the current 7-inch model offers 2GB of embedded memory and is bundled 16GB MicroSD card.

Another new feature is Samsung Kies Air technology, which enables a Wi-Fi connection to a PC or Mac without a preloaded application to synchronize phone content, view and manage such content as contacts content from the PC, and send SMS messages from the PC.

The main camera still offers 3.2-megapixel resolution, but the front-facing camera for video chats goes to 2-megapixel resolution from 1.2 megapixels.

Screen resolution remains at 1024x600 WSVGA, but the LCD screen used PLS rather than TFT technology for greater clarity and sharpness.

In another change, the company said 7.0 features voice and video call support with no need for a headset. However, although the current 7-inch Tab was launched with ability to place cellular voice calls through a Bluetooth headset, that feature was not turned on in U.S. carrier versions.

Presumably, the new model will continue to offer DLNA certification as its predecessor did.

Other features include 720p video recording, 1080p video storage, enterprise solutions, USB 2.0 Host, and like before, 4,000 mAh lithium-ion battery.

Many of the new 7.0 Plus features are already available on the Tab 8.9 and 10.1, including access to Samsung content Hubs, or services.

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