Samsung’s Galaxy Tab

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab

Microsoft Corporation’s Zune is a portable music player that was supposed to be a worthy rival to Apple Inc.’s iPod. It never really took off though. But now Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, priced at $650 (just over R4500), is widely considered to be a worthy contender.

It’s a great piece of hardware with a fast processor, bright and colourful multi-touch screen and Google Inc.’s reliable Android operating system. All that fits into the 7-inch-wide device – that’s half the size of the iPad. The problem with the Galaxy Tab is that it’s overpriced and underdeveloped, and looks set to go the same way that Zune went; downwards. That is, of course, unless Samsung wakes up and makes some changes to the potentially break-through gadget.

It’s a 3G device and is compatible with Wi-Fi wireless networking and is much faster than 3G, which makes going online at home an easy task. The European Galaxy Tabs can be used as a phone but US carriers insisted that this function to be left out. The Tab has some great features which has cemented its position as (currently) the only real contender with the iPad in terms of functions and features.

It has two cameras – front and back – and the device can handle videos created in the popular Flash format which means you’ll have better access to thousands of media-rich websites. Android’s interesting software, Swype, allows you to type by dragging a finger across the keyboard to form words. The hardware also seems solid with a one gig processor, good battery life and decent screen quality.

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The apps on the Tab need a little more work. Call-conferencing apps are disappointing with calls that fall through and bad video quality. The small size also works against it in some instances, like browsing Web pages and it still isn’t small enough to fit in the palm on your hand comfortably.

Despite all these issues, the Galaxy has some good potential. Samsung just needs to put in some more work on the design, fix a few glitches and market the device properly. It’ll have to act quickly though as the Galaxy Tab’s demise has been heralded already even though it’s hardly hit the store shelves. Poor sales have caused Samsung to dramatically reduce the production numbers, with some estimating the company has dropped production by half.

The Galaxy Tab is not the only tablet that will suffer during this fourth quarter – Rodman & Renshaw’s Ashok Kumar predicted that even market leader Apple’s iPad will ship fewer units than previously hoped.