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Gadgets -Better Android Tables Show in Berlin

September 07, 2010

Better Android Tables Show in Berlin

By Doug Mohney
Contributing Editor

Last week, Samsung (News - Alert) and Toshiba showed off their Android tablets to the world media at the IFA show in Berlin. Both show promise, but neither company has put a price tag on their respective products.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is expected to arrive in European markets in a couple of weeks, with the U.S. and Asia. It has a 7 inch touch screen – larger than the Dell (News - Alert) Streak, smaller than the iPad – and a lot of features people wanted to see on the iPad, including Adobe Flash support, an SD memory slot and a pair of cameras (front, rear), so you can do videoconferencing. It will ship with the latest version of Android (2.2), have access to the complete Google (News - Alert) apps Market (OK, who wouldn’t do that? Well, see below for some speculation), GPS, and a bunch of integrated sensors, including a gyroscope, accelerometer, light sensor, and geomagnetic sensor.

There’s a 3.2 megapixel camera on the back with an LED flash and auto-focus. The front-facing camera has a 1.3 megapixel camera for videoconferencing. Battery life is said to be good for 7 hours of continuous video playback. Wi-Fi connectivity up to 802.11n is on board, plus support for the GSM/HSPA family with up to 7.2 Mbps; there’s also talk that the tablet will show up on Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless’s network, but that begs the question if the device will have EVDO support or maybe even LTE built in.  An Android tablet on Verizon’s LTE (News - Alert) network would make for some serious tech candy.

One key not yet defined by Samsung is how much the tablet will cost. . There are reports (i.e. who knows) that the Galaxy Tab might cost around $1000 U.S. – which would price it out of the ballpark of most users and above a fully loaded Apple iPad.

Meanwhile, Toshiba Europe has rolled out the Folio 100. It too runs Android 2.2 and its main attraction is a 10.1 inch touch screen. Pricing will be around $500 and should be available throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the fourth quarter of 2010 – just in time for the holiday shopping season.

The Folio 100 is equipped with an SD card slot, dual-cameras, HDMI connector, a mini USB and regular sized USB connector, 802.11n and Bluetooth, plus a SIM card slot for 3G connectivity.    It too boasts of batter life up to seven hours and has a proprietary connector for a docking cradle.

 The core software load varies from Android default, including Opera Mobile as the browser and a Toshiba-dedicated App store, the Toshiba Marketplace. According to some reports, Toshiba says that the higher screen size and resolution don’t allow the Folio 100 to work with “official” Android apps --- this is a big strike against the Folio and begs the question why they couldn’t manage it while Samsung could.

Needless to say, while both tablets sound promising, Toshiba may have shot itself in the foot if it has a device that can’t run native Android apps from Google’s App store while Samsung might be priced too high in comparison to the iPad.

Doug Mohney is a contributing editor for TMCnet and a 20-year veteran of the ICT space. To read more of his articles, please visit columnist page.

Edited by Ed Silverstein

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