updated 11:05 pm EDT, Mon March 21, 2011
Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 specs spied early
An amount of spying on the CTIA show floor before it officially opened has revealed many of the details of the Galaxy Tab 8.9, including one of the few instances of companies veering away from the official Android 3.0 interface. Samsung's new tablet will have both "live panels," or extra-large widgets that contain a slew of real-time information. PocketNow in seeing the demo booths also saw a new alternative to Android's multitasking switcher with a "mini apps tray" in place that gives live previews and even allows a basic amount of control.
The tablet itself is, as suspected, mostly a smaller version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that packs a full 1280x800 in a smaller screen size. An unnamed dual-core 1GHz processor is onboard and likely the same NVIDIA Tegra 2 as in its bigger counterpart. Most other details are hidden, but the 8.9 should still have dual cameras, albeit likely at a lower resolution.
It should be one of the first Android tablets thinner than the iPad 2, however, at just 8.6mm thick (versus Apple's 8.8mm) and would lose weight through the smaller size, at just over one pound.
The new Galaxy Tab will be unveiled at Samsung's CTIA event at 11AM on Tuesday. Given the US-centric nature of the show, it's probable Samsung will have at least a Wi-Fi version and more likely 3G or 4G versions attached to carriers.
Custom interfaces were expected for Android 3.0 and are coming to devices like the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, but Samsung's design shows the Galaxy Tab 10.1's stock Android 3.0 to be an exception rather than the rule. It also raises concerns of a splintering OS framework on the tablet. It will delay support for any newer versions of Android in the future; Samsung has also been historically slow on updates and in many cases has abandoned Android devices after a few months, even if the hardware can technically support newer features. Long-term OS support and guaranteed access to a wide range of apps have both been mainstays of the iPad and often credited with some of its success.