Update: Specifications for the Samsung Galaxy Tab are now confirmed.
Few would contest that Apple's iPad played an instrumental role in jumpstarting a tablet craze and ushering in a new era of mobile computing. Up until now, the iPad has enjoyed relatively little company in the tablet space, but with Samsung's introduction of the Galaxy Tab, that's all about to change.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the first of an army of Android-powered tablets poised to take on the Apple iPad. Possessing several coveted features that are sorely missing from Apple's "magical" tablet, the Galaxy Tab and its Android brothers in arms stand to quickly gain ground on the iPad.
While Samsung has been coy about the Galaxy Tab's full specifications, we've done some sleuthing, and have a decent idea what to expect. Of course, we'll update this comparison as we learn more.
Display: The Apple iPad touts a larger, slightly higher resolution display (9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 pixel resolution) than that of the Samsung Galaxy Tab (7-inch, 1024 x 600). Of course, the iPad's added display real-estate makes for a better web browsing and movie watching experience, but also renders the device less portable than the Galaxy Tab.
Camera: Disappointingly, the Apple iPad is without an on-board camera of any kind. The Samsung Galaxy Tab will have a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera making ultra-portable video chat a key selling point. The Galaxy Tab will also sport a 3.2-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash and autofocus.
Wireless: Of course, the Apple iPad is available with optional connectivity to AT&T's 3G network. The Galaxy Tab is expected to be available for Verizon Wireless, and will have the ability to make phone calls in addition to utilize the 3G network for data connectivity. The iPad cannot make phone calls.
The Google Android vs. Apple iOS battle rages on in the smartphone market, with Android scoring some major points as of late against Apple's iPhone mobile operating system. Apple's iOS also powers the iPod Touch and iPad. Beyond hardware, the biggest difference between the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy S will inevitably come down to software.
Multitasking: While Apple's latest version of iOS allows multitasking (arguably to a limited degree), an update for the iPad that will bring the device multitasking abilities is not expected to hit until the fall. The Android platform's multitasking is regarded in many circles as superior to that of iOS, allowing for programs to run fully in the background.
Apps: Of course, the same applications available on iPhones and Android-powered phone are available on their tablet counterparts. Additionally, Apple's iPad has a growing number of apps developed specifically for the device, taking advantage of its large screen real-estate. The day will certainly come where many apps will also be developed specifically with Android tablets in mind, but that day is not here yet, and iPad users will likely be able to claim a superior app selection for a long time to come.
Open: By its very nature, the Android platform is open, allowing virtually limitless customization, the ability to install any app you want (including apps that have not gone through an approval process), and unrestricted access to a device's system and files.
Adobe Flash: Whatever your view on Adobe Flash may be, the fact is that a huge number of websites rely on Flash to provide engaging multimedia content and interactivity -- and the web is a very different place without Flash. Apple's iPad does not offer Flash support, rendering a wealth of content inaccessible from the device.
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