Steve Jobs famously proclaimed 7-inch tablets dead on arrival, arguing in a conference call with Wall Street analysts that users need sandpaper to file down their fingers to be able to interact with the smallish on-screen controls.
While the pundits and tech press disagreed, pointing their finger at Samsung's well-received Galaxy Tab, it looks as though Steve was right, because key vendors are now thinking beyond 7 inches.
Take Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI ) or LG, whose Xoom and G-Slate, respectively, boast 10.1-inch displays. Or Samsung, for example, that just confirmed a Galaxy Tab successor. From its very name, it's clear that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (yes, that's its name) aims to distinguish itself from 7-inchers.
The official list of features the company released Sunday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, includes the Android Honeycomb operating system that Google created specifically for tablets (that was expected), front and rear cameras, a 1280-by-800 pixel resolution display, dual surround-sound speakers, the latest Tegra 2 chips utilizing a 1GHz dual-core processor, and more. It also has the usual assortment of sensors -- an accelerometer, gyro, digital compass, and ambient light sensor.
The tablet is a bit thinner and lighter than the iPad -- measuring 246 millimeters wide, 170 millimeters tall, 11 millimeters thin (2.5 millimeters thinner than the iPad) -- and weighs in at 600 grams. Gone is the shiny back from the Galaxy Tab in favor of a patterned surface that lets you grip the gizmo more securely without the unpleasant uncertainty of having it slip out of your sweaty hands.
Also on the back is an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash that records 1080p video at 25 frames per second. Videoconferencing via Google Talk is enabled through a forward-facing 2-megapixel camera. According to an Engadget article, the gizmo has no HDMI video output or a USB port, although the official specs state that there's a USB port. Another difference compared with its predecessor is the lack of TouchWiz and custom Samsung apps -- the tablet comes with only stock Honeycomb software installed.
In terms of connectivity, the product comes equipped with 802.11n wireless, 3G with up to 21Mbps data transfer on HSPA+ cellular networks, and Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR. Samsung will begin selling the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 through carriers this spring and has partnered with Vodafone (NYSE: VOD ) to bring the device to about 20 markets around the world. Although there was no word about the U.S. launch, the gizmo will almost certainly launch on Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Vodafone and Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) .
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