Samsung Galaxy Tab

Image Caption: Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000. Credit: PaulK/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is an Android-based tablet computer produced by South Korean manufacturer Samsung Group. It was introduced on September 2, 2010 at IFA Berlin.

The Galaxy Tab has a 7-inch TFT-LCD touch-screen, Wi-Fi capability, 1.0GHz ARM Cortex-A8 Samsung Exynos 3110 processor (codenamed Hummingbird), a Swype input system, 3.2MP rear-facing camera and a 1.3MP front-facing camera for video calls. It runs Android 2.3 (2.2) operating system, and supports telephone functionality as a speaker phone via wired ear piece or Bluetooth (except in the US).

The Galaxy Tab is enclosed in a plastic frame making it much lighter (0.84 lbs) than other metal-bodied tablet computers. The screen has a 1024×600 resolution with Mobile Digital Natural Images Engine (mDNIE). It has 2GB of internal flash storage and can handle up to 32GB of external storage with the use of a microSD flash card. The CPU is an Exynos 3110 Applications Processor and has 512 MB of RAM paired with a PowerVR SGX540 graphics processor.

The Wi-Fi only model has a different graphics chip that doesn’t support TV and the company has not made efforts to provide an update. Other than that, all models feature GPS, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and hands-free/Bluetooth/headphone telephony. Cellular protocols include GSM, CDMA, and HSPA. It also has a proprietary 30-pin docking and charging connector not shared with other manufacturers. The 4000 mAh battery is rated for 7 hours of video playback or 10 hours of talk time.

The GSM variants of the Galaxy Tab have an externally-accessible SIM card slot. If the SIM card is removed while the system is on, the system automatically reboots. For non-US Galaxy Tabs, with phone function, this slot can also accommodate a 3G data-only SIM card if the user does not need telephone functionality. The Samsung Galaxy Tab also has an optional RCA plug connector through which the screen image is shown on a TV or other display.

The Tab supports calendar, email and instant messaging apps and has a launcher for e-reading apps. PressDisplay is launched for reading e-newspapers, Kobo for reading e-books, and Zinio for reading e-magazines. For viewing and editing Microsoft Office documents, the Galaxy Tab also comes bundled with the Android version of ThinkFree Office Mobile.

The Tab also supports tethering, acting as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 5 devices. HD video formats supported by the Tab include DivX, Xvid, MPEG4, H.263 and H.264. It can play video content stored on the device or streamed from YouTube, and can output 720p video to a TV either as composite video or via HDMI when using the optional dock.

Text can be entered using Swype (tracing a path over letters on a virtual keyboard. As of November 2011, the apps market for Android tablets is still small with only a few hundred dedicated Android apps, compared to more than 90,000 apps on Apple’s App Store.

Several updates have been made, including the release of Gingerbread 2.3.6 in February 2012. Samsung has announced that the tablet will not receive Ice Cream Sandwich, although a value package is in the works. This package will not include a full Ice Cream Sandwich build, but instead a Gingerbread build with a few Ice Cream Sandwich features.

The Galaxy Tab was first released in South Korea on November 3, 2010, nearly three weeks after its scheduled release date of October 14. It was launched around the world throughout November — in Asia, Australia, Brazil, Europe and the United States, among other places.

In the United States, T-Mobile began offering the Tab on November 10, 2010. Verizon first offered it on November 11, 2010, Sprint offered it beginning November 14, 2010, and AT&T on November 21, 2010, with no contract requirement.

Sales of Galaxy Tab 10.1 were halted in the US after a patent infringement lawsuit was filed by Apple. As of July 2012, the ruling was still subject to appeal by Samsung.