March 22, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Samsung Mobile released the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a 7-inch screen, and then followed-up with the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which has 10.1-inch screen. Samsung backtracked and moved forward by announcing a new Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab 8.9, that meets the two in the middle.
The Samsung Galaxy will sell for $469 as a 16 GB model, and 32 GB for $569 early this summer. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 differs from previously announced tablets because it features Samsung’s custom user interface. Samsung tweaked the Honeycomb UI to add in its own home screen launcher and Android widgets, a custom app switcher, and retooled some of the design elements that ship with the default Honeycomb experience. One prominent feature of this UI is the “Mini Apps Tray” that allows up to six apps to function in a small window without switching away from your main task. So if you have a browser window open but want to launch your favorite Android Twitter app, press the Mini Apps button and operate it on in one area of the screen.
The original Galaxy Tab is great for portability but lacks the features that make the larger 10.1 device appealing. The 8.9 seeks to merge those two desires by being compact but feature rich. The device is 8.6 mm thin, 479 grams in weight, and has a 6,000 mAh battery that supoprts up to 10 hours of video playback.
The Tab 8.9 also adds a new version of TouchWiz for tablets, also be featured on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which Samsung says offers “superior multi-tasking and enhanced user interaction and navigation.” Each version offers its own strengths and weaknesses, but also raises issues about whether these new devices offer the best “future proof” to receive more updates and continued support. We’ll see soon.