Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Samsung announces the underwhelming, only slightly improved, Galaxy Tab 3

Samsung's Galaxy Tab line is about to get its third-generation. The company announced the Galaxy Tab 3 7-inch tablet on Monday.

According to The Verge, the 3G-enabled version of the tablet will be able to make calls, which -- if it makes it to the U.S. with that function available -- will be relatively rare for a tablet.

A couple of key points: The naming of the device most likely means we won't see a 10.1-inch version, as we did with the Galaxy Tab 2 (Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1).

In addition, the Tab 3 is only getting slight upgrades to its hardware specifications. The Galaxy Tab 3 will carry a dual-core 1.2Ghz processor, and is available with either 8GB or 16GB of storage and 1GB of RAM. Of those, only the processor receives an upgrade (the Tab 2 7.0 sported a 1GHz TI OMAP4430 (Cortex A9) SoC.

The cameras remain the same (1.3MP front-facing and 3.0MP rear-facing), the screen is the same at 1024 x 600, and even the battery size (4,000 mAh) is unchanged.

Dimensions will change slightly. The Galaxy Tab 3 will be smaller in all dimensions (height, 7.4 inches vs. 7.63 inches; width 4.37 inches vs. 4.82 inches; thickness 0.39 inches vs. 0.41 inches).

The device will ship with Jelly Bean, though the 4.1 version rather than the latest 4.2.

The first version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7-inch, the wi-fi only version, will be available globally beginning in May with the 3G version (supports faux 4G HSPA+) to follow in June. Naturally, with carrier approval necessary for the cellular version, product availability will varies by market.

Samsung left out the all-important pricing information, but consumers can hope that with rival tablets such as the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire 2 and iPad mini, Samsung will keep the price well in the affordable range.

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