Perhaps no longer satisfied being the world’s No. 2 tablet maker, Samsung unveiled a beefed-up version of its Galaxy Tab today at the in Barcelona.
The Korean electronics giant increased the Galaxy Tab’s display screen from 7 inches to 10.1 inches ─ the iPad has a 9.7-inch screen ─ and equipped the device to run on Honeycomb, Google’s version of Android developed for tablet devices .
The device, dubbed Galaxy Tab 10.1, also has front- and rear-facing cameras (2-megapixel and 8-megapixel resolution respectively) and operates software on top of the dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. At 1.3 pounds, it still weighs less than the iPad.
"We've worked closely with Nvidia to raise the stakes again,” Hyungmoon Noh, vice president of Samsung's R&D Strategy Group, said in a statement. “The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, with Honeycomb and Tegra 2, provides the optimal entertainment and multimedia experience without compromising the mobility Samsung is known for."
While the nascent tablet computing market is set to explode in 2011, with the market for tablets expected to hit 60 million units , only a few companies have a legitimate shot early on at unseating Apple’s iPad as king.
And Samsung leads that charge. The versatile and competitively priced Galaxy Tab has been popular among enthusiasts looking for an alternative to the exploding app ecosystem the iPad has created. Samsung has promoted the slate as a smaller and smarter alternative to the iPad.
However, screen size turned out to be a negative as many initial enthusiasts complained about the 7-inch display making the device feel like a large smartphone.
Now with the increased screen size — and upgraded software designed specifically for the tablet (the first generation Android running on most tablets was initially designed for phones) — Samsung looks better positioned to make a run at the iPad.
Last week the company announced it had shipped 2 million devices since its November launch. In the year since Apple began selling the iPad, they have sold 14.7 million units.
Still, in recent months the number of tablet-makers using Android software has grown exponentially as Google continues to provide Android free to hardware makers in an effort to expand its share of the mobile ad market by increasing the system's user base.
The software helped tablet-makers take a bite out of Apple's iPad overall market share in the slate computing space, claiming a 22 percent of sales in the fourth quarter, up from the 2.3 percent the previous quarter, market researcher Strategy Analytics said.
In fact, according to a Strategy Analytics report, as total tablet sales doubled globally in the fourth quarter, the iPad took the biggest percentage loss dropping market share from 96 percent to 75 percent. The loss was a direct result of an exploding number of Android-enabled tablets hitting the market.