Tag Archive | "samsung"

Breaking: Galaxy Tab 7.7 4G LTE Hitting Verizon on March 1st for $499, Finally

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 equipped with 4G LTE is finally touching down at Verizon starting in just two days. It’s been a long time coming, but starting March 1, you’ll be able to pick up the premium tablet for $499.

What do you get for $499? Well, first there’s the much lauded 7.7″ Super AMOLED Plus screen with 1280×800 resolution, then you’ve got a 1.4GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 3.2MP rear camera (2MP front), and 16GB of storage, all contained inside of a sleek 7.8mm thick casing. This version of the Galaxy Tab also has that wonderful 4G LTE functionality that has proven time and again to be the speediest mobile data network in the ‘states.

The only show stopper? Verizon and Samsung indicate that the Galaxy Tab 7.7 will still be shipping with Android 3.2 Honeycomb. Given that the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0), Galaxy Note 10.1, and Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) were all just recently announced with Android 4.0 Honeycomb on board this is somewhat of a disappointment. Given the bad track record of updates for Android products — if I was in the market for a new tablet I might just wait until an official date for the release of Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy Tab 7.7 before making a purchase decision.

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 was announced all the way back at IFA in September 2011. Since then, we’ve been watching carefully to see when the Tab 7.7 would make it stateside. The very last we had heard about the Galaxy Tab 7.7 release date was during CES 2012 in January when Verizon and Samsung said that the device would be arriving “in the coming weeks”. Wow, it’s been a long time coming! The $499 price point meshes well with our prediction from the other week, and unfortunately, so does the lack of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich!

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Brings Digital Inking and Photoshop to the Big Screen! [video and gallery]

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Samsung has just announced the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet which features the same ‘S Pen’ active digitizer and stylus technology as found in the Galaxy Note smartphone. Back when the Galaxy Note was announced at IFA, Chippy and I bother remarked that we might enjoy the stylus functionality more on a tablet rather than a smartphone (thanks to the extra screen real estate, so I’m quite excited about this move from Samsung. Chippy has a hands on video of the Galaxy Note 10.1 straight form the MWC show floor:


With this announcement, Samsung says that they’re worked with Adobe to create a version of Photoshop Touch that is specially optimized for the S Pen functionality of the Galaxy Note 10.1. Photoshop Touch on the Note 10.1 will let you “transform images with core Photoshop features and combine multiple photos into layered images, make popular edits, apply professional effects, and more,” according to Samsung. Then there’s Adobe Ideas, also optimized for the S Pen, which allows you to create simply sketches and vector graphics. Samsung says that these S Pen optimized versions of Photoshop Touch and Adobe Ideas are exclusively pre-loaded on the Galaxy Note 10.1, though it seems the standard versions of these apps are currently available through the Android Market (see the links above).

In addition to these graphic-oriented apps, Samsung says that they’ve got a suite of apps to make the Galaxy Note 10.1 a powerful educational and productivity tool. The S Note app allows you to create a mashup of photos and annotation, and has templates such as meeting minutes, recipe, cards, diary, magazine, and more to help you become productive with minimal setup. Formula match and shape match functions in the S Note app allows the software to recognize mathematical symbols and shapes respectively to aid in math work diagram drawing, and more.

There’s no word yet on Galaxy Note 10.1 pricing or release date, but I’m just hoping this won’t turn into another multi-month fiasco as happened with the US release of the Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab 7.7.

Aside from the S Pen functionality, a healthy dose of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and a MicroSD slot, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is unsurprisingly similar to the Galaxy Tab 10.1:


HSPA+ 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100EDGE/GPRS   850/900/1800/1900


1.4 GHz Dual-Core Processor


10.1” WXGA(1280×800) PLS TFT


Android 4.0(Ice Cream Sandwich)


————-Main(Rear): 3 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash
Sub(Front): 2 Megapixel Camera


————-Codec: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, VC-1, DivX, WMV7, WMV8, WMV9, VP8
Format: 3GP(MP4), WMV(ASF), AVI, FLV, MKV, WebM
Playback/ Recording: 1080p Full HD@30fps, 720p HD@30fps


————-Codec: MP3, OGG, WMA, AAC, ACC+, eAAC+, AMR(NB,WB), MIDI, WAV, AC-3, Flac
Music Player with SoundAlive
3.5mm Ear Jack


Features & Services


Samsung TouchWiz / Samsung L!ve Panel

S Pen Experience (S Note, S Planner)

Samsung Apps

Samsung Hub

– Readers Hub/ Music Hub/ Game Hub/ Video Hub

Samsung S Suggest (App recommendation service)

Samsung ChatON mobile communication service

Samsung AllShare Play*

Samsung Kies/ Samsung Kies air
GoogleTM Mobile Services– Android Market™, Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Maps™,
Syncing with Google Calendar™, Google Search, Google +
Adobe Apps
– Photoshop Touch, Adobe Ideas
Polaris document editor
A-GPS(3G version)
S-GPS(WiFi version)


————-Exchange ActiveSync
On-Device Encryption
Cisco VPN(Virtual Private Network)
Juniper Junos Pulse VPN



Bluetooth technology v 3.0 (Apt-X Codec support)
USB 2.0 Host
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Channel Bonding


Accelerometer, Digital compass, Light, Gyroscope


16/32/64GB User memory + 1GB (RAM)
microSD (up to 32GB)


256.7 x 175.3 x 8.9 mm, 583g


Standard battery, Li-ion 7,000mAh


Samsung Announces Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0), It’s like the Galaxy Tab Plus Except… Worse.

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In what could only be called a baffling move, Samsung today announced the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0). Through a press release, oddly titled ‘Samsung’s new GALAXY Tab 2 (7.0) offers optimal multimedia experiences in life‘, Samsung said that the new addition to the Galaxy Tab series would launch in March starting in the UK, then spread globally to other markets. Pricing was not confirmed, but I expect the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) to start around $450 for a WiFi-only model while US carriers may offer them for around $300. While the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0.) is the first to bring the much lauded Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to Samsung’s 7″ form-factor, it also makes some rather strange omissions which make this feel more like a prequel than a sequel.

Recall that Samsung started their tablet series with the original Galaxy Tab 7. From there they went on to launch the Galaxy Tab 8.9, Tab 10.1, Tab 7.7 and eventually the Tab 7 Plus, which brought the 7″ tablet back up to par with a dual-core processor. If it wasn’t confusing enough already if Samsung wanted the Tab 7.7 or the Tab 7 Plus to be the successor to the original Galaxy Tab  7, things just got even more convoluted with the announcement of the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0). Let’s have a look at the specs and see how it compares to the Tab 7 Plus:

Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Specs


HSPA+ 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100


1 GHz Dual-Core Processor


7” WSVGA(1024×600) PLS TFT


Android 4.0(Ice Cream Sandwich)


Main(Rear): 3 Megapixel Fixed Focus CameraSub(Front): VGA for Video Call


Codec: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, VC-1, DivX, WMV7, WMV8, VP8Format: 3GP, ASF, AVI, MP4, WMV, FLV, MKV, WebMPlayback/ Recording: Full HD@30fps, HD@30fps


Codec: MP3, AAC, AC-3, AMR, FLAC, MID, WMA, WAV, VorbisMusic Player with SoundAlive3.5mm Ear Jack

Value-added Features

Samsung TouchWiz/ Samsung L!ve Panel UX

Samsung Apps

Samsung Kies / Samsung Kies air

Samsung Hub

– Readers Hub/ Music Hub/ Game Hub/ Video Hub

Samsung Hub Widget

– Music Hub/ Game Hub/ Video Hub

Samsung S Suggest (App recommendation service)

Samsung ChatON mobile communication service

AllShare Play
GoogleTM Mobile Services- Android Market™, Gmail™, Google Earth™, YouTube™, Google Maps™, Syncing with Google Calendar™
A-GPS, Glonass


Bluetooth® technology v 3.0USB 2.0 HostWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct


Accelerometer, Digital compass, Light

Proximity(* Available on 3G version only)


8/16/32GB User memory + 1GB (RAM)

microSD (up to 32GB)


193.7 x 122.4 x 10.5 mm, 344g


Standard battery, Li-ion 4,000mAh

Also note that the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) can make phone calls (just like the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus). The press release offers an odd justification for this functionality: “With the voice call capability, the GALAXY Tab 2 (7.0) can be used just as easily as a phone, affording users the handy convenience of a second device in case they misplace their primary phone.”

What’s Missing?

As mentioned, the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) is pretty much the same as the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus, except the Tab 2 has Ice Cream Sandwich. I call this announcement an odd move from Samsung because it seems as though they will be updating the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich anyway. Once this happens, the Tab 7 Plus will actually have more features than the Tab 2 (7.0). Here are the (current) differences between the two:

Yes, you’re reading that right: the Galaxy Tab 2 has a slower processor, a lower resolution front camera, no flash, no IR blaster, and is thicker (same battery capacity just in case you were wondering). How exactly Samsung arrived at the conclusion that the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) should be considered the successor to the original Tab 7, while concluding that the Tab 7 Plus was somehow unworthy of the title, is beyond me.

In all fairness, the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) does has a few tricks up it’s sleeve that the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus doesn’t have, but these are all software based and can be ported over when the Tab 7 Plus receives the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade.

Unless the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) is going to sell for significantly less than the Tab 7 Plus (and I don’t think it will), then I really don’t quite understand what Samsung hopes to gain with this launch.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus: The Closest I’ve Come to Switching to Android

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I’ve been using the iPhone for three generations now — starting with the iPhone 3G, then the iPhone 3GS, and finally the iPhone 4 which is my current companion. I’m finally due for an upgrade and I must say that I’ve come closer than ever before to picking an Android phone (specifically the Galaxy Nexus) over an iPhone, but it just wasn’t meant to be and I’ll explain why. Be sure to note that what’s important to have in a phone for me might not be the same for you; I’m just laying out my thoughts here as to why the Galaxy Nexus has been the phone that has come the closest to tempting me over to Android.

Android 4.0

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich feels like the first truly full package in the history of Android. Finally there’s good hardware acceleration and enough performance for a nearly smooth home screen. This hasn’t quite translated over to all apps just yet. Android finally seems to have all of the vital default apps and has long included a turn-by-turn navigation app that blows Apple’s Maps app out of the water. Google just launched the Chrome Beta browser which offers a rich browsing experience which should have been included in Android long ago. Photos can now be robustly edited right in the gallery without scouring the Android Market for the right app. Home screen folders are extremely fast and a pleasure to use, while resizable widgets further the level of flexibility and customization. There’s better battery and data analysis, and much more. This has all come together in bits and pieces over the last few years as Android has grown, and 4.0 is the first time it feels like a complete package to me.

The saddest part about all of this is how hard it is to get your hands on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Google has crafted this seemingly complete package, but less than 1% of users have access to it right now! I’m actually limited to the Galaxy Nexus if I want a top-end phone that also runs Android 4.0 at the moment.


The camera app in Android 4.0 is super fast in both launching and taking consecutive photos. Unfortunately, I still find that all Android handsets that I’ve tested have lacked in camera quality (for both stills and video) when compared to the iPhone 4, often despite higher megapixel ratings. For me, camera quality is more important than speed. The new panorama mode in the Android 4.0 camera app is neat, but I find that I can achieve better results by taking individual photos, then stitching them together on the computer. It’s a shame that Nokia never got into the Android ecosystem as they’ve long been heralded as having some of the best optics in the mobile industry.

The iPhone 4S camera is supposed to be even better than the iPhone 4 camera with 8MP instead of 5MP and reworked optics. If I can achieve photos like the following with the iPhone 4, then I’m looking forward to what the iPhone 4S has to offer:

Notification System

I’ve said it before and I think it’s still true today: Android is the best at managing notifications, while iOS is the best at delivering them. Between Android 4.0 and iOS 5.0, Android absolutely wins when it comes to managing notifications — you can toss away individual notifications or dismiss them all at once if you’d like. Tapping on a notification takes you directly to the item you are being notified about. All of this is better than how iOS does it. However, Apple’s push notification system is best in class. I don’t understand why Google doesn’t have push Gmail through the official Gmail app. Side-by-side with the Galaxy Nexus, my iPhone 4 shows changes to my inbox almost instantly, while the Galaxy Nexus doesn’t do anything until significantly later, unless manually refreshed. I can literally receive, respond to, and be done with an email on my iPhone 4 before it even arrives on the Galaxy Nexus. For some people, getting notifications instantly isn’t a big deal, but as someone who works on the web it’s a big advantage and one that I can’t easily give up.

Screen Size

If you follow Carrypad regularly, you’ll know that I’ve got some gripes with 4″+ screens. One-handed usability is important to me because I’m frequently on the go. The 3.5″ screen of the iPhone (all versions of it) is far more comfortable in my hand than anything 4″ and above. The Galaxy Nexus, at 4.65″, is just too big to be used comfortably in one hand for me. Everyone’s hands are different sizes, so everyone has a different limit, but with the massive-screen fad that’s been growing in Android over the years, it’s almost impossible to get a top-end Android phone in a size less than 4″. If the Galaxy Nexus came in any size 4″ or less, I’d be far more inclined to pick it over the iPhone 4S.


This is one of Android’s greatest strengths, but it always runs the risk of being over-complicated. I’m the kind of person who loves to tinker with their gadgets and get them to work just the way I’d like. On the iPhone, this urge is satisfied with jailbreaking, which enhances the customizations you can make on iOS, but it’s not much compared to what you can do on Android. With Android 4.0 on the Galaxy Nexus, I can fit tons of apps efficiently on one page with folders. On other screens, I’ve got at-a-glance access to my calendar, weather, inbox, and music player. It’s nice to be able to do much of what I need to right from the homescreen instead of jumping through hoops between apps. This category is a major win for the Galaxy Nexus.


There’s no denying that there are some great apps on Android, but Apple’s iOS App Store still has a greater number of apps than the Android Market. When we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of apps in each store, the aggregate hardly matters. Where iOS has the real advantage is in quality and consistency. Because Apple has strict guidelines, most apps are intuitive and work well without crashing. When it comes to apps from the Android Market, you might have two great apps, but they might have two completely different interface approaches — one app trying to emulate an iOS-like ‘everything on screen’ style and the other trying to do the Android thing by hiding features away in long-presses and hidden menus. Alone, each of these is arguably as good as the other, but when you have to jump between apps that go back in forth in their interface approach, the user interaction aspect of it becomes increasingly convoluted, and this is something I quite dislike.


If everything above held an advantage for the Galaxy Nexus, there would still be one huge issue for me choosing it over the iPhone 4S — availability. I’m on AT&T, and the Galaxy Nexus is decidedly not available for purchase. AT&T has not one Android 4.0 ICS phone available at the moment, which means the best I could do is buy one of the top-end Android phones then wait and hope that it would receive an ICS upgrade. If Google thinks the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 is such a great pair, they’ve got to do a better job of making it available for people to actually purchase it. The only way for me to actually get my hands on the Galaxy Nexus would be to switch carriers or buy an expensive unlocked version of the phone without a subsidy from my carrier.

So, Google, you almost had me on this one, but unfortunately I’ve made up my mind to continue with the iPhone — for now anyway. Fix the stuff above that needs it; you’ve got two years to work on it before there’s another chance to convert me.

Report: Smartphone Screens Growing over Time, 5″ Screens the Norm by End of 2013

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I’ve been following a disturbing trend over the last few years as the Android platform (and now WP7 as well) matures. Smartphone screen sizes just keep growing and growing, and they don’t seem to want to stop. I have a number of issues with smartphones that have overly-large screens. It pains me to see that, while Android is known for giving users many choices, it’s nearly impossible to get a reasonably-sized flagship phone. For me, for a smartphone to be a ‘smartphone’ at all, and not a tablet, it has to be easily usable with one hand. Of course then the definition of smartphone/tablet will change from person to person, because our hands are not all the same size, however, there is certainly a finite limit for everyone where a phone will become too big to be comfortably used with one hand.

I’m currently testing the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. So far it’s been a rather wonderful phone, and I recently wrote this on Google Plus:

I’ve been using the iPhone for 3 generations. Right now I’m testing a Galaxy Nexus. If they made the same exact phone in a size that’s actually comfortable for one-hand use, I might call myself an Android convert. Curse you 4″+ screens and the awful fad that you are!

For me, the 4.65″ screen on the Galaxy Nexus is just too big. I constantly have to shuffle the phone around in my hand because Android places the two most frequently used aspects of the interface (the menu buttons and the notification drawer) at opposite ends of the phone. The size of the phone and the required shuffling means that I’ve got a poor grip on it, and I’ve been rather worried about dropping it during use. Again, those with larger hands will not have the same issue at 4.65″, but at some point they will run into the same problem.

Android Handset Screen Size Over Time

To show the trends of Android smartphone screen sizes over time, I compiled screen size and release date data from 155 smartphones from five major manufacturers (Motorola, Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG). I’d like to thank PDADB.net for their comprehensive release date info. (click to enlarge graphs)



As you can see, since the introduction of the 3.2″ HTC Dream / G1, screen sizes have consistently increased. Today we’re seeing 4″, 4.5″, 4.7″, 5″, and even 5.3″ smartphones! A simple projection (seen on the main chart) suggests that before 2013 is out, many handsets will have 5″ screens, while the flagship phones of that time may have even larger screens (if this trend continues) of 5.5″ or perhaps 6″.

With a slope of 0.0016, LG is increasing its Android smartphone screen sizes the most rapidly of these five manufactures. Despite pioneering some of the largest phones on the market at certain points in the timeline, Motorola is actually showing the slowest rate of increase in Android smartphone screen size with a slope of 0.0009, but of course this isn’t very far off from the leader!

Why is This Happening?

A good question to ask is what’s prompting the growth in screen size. It seems natural for manufacturers to have experimented with screen sizes as the platform grew legs. Different screen sizes are a point of differentiation for an Android phone manufacturer — a way to stand out in a sea of similar options. Bigger screens were also an easy way for companies to try to beat out the iPhone on features, even if the ‘bigger is better’ argument doesn’t hold much water in this case. Now it seems to have turned into a snowball effect whereby manufacturers are trying to one-up each other to have the biggest screen in town (all the while, Apple has stuck with 3.5″ since the introduction of their handsets). You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard the phrase “biggest and baddest” when marketers are referring to a new Android phone. They use this phrase as though bigger is always better, but I must say — when it comes to comfortable one-handed smartphone use — it is not.

Where Does It Stop?

My question is this: where do we draw the line? As I mentioned, despite variations in hand sizes, everyone reaches a limit of comfortable one-hand usability at some point. I don’t have the raw data to back it up, but I believe that Android smartphone screen sizes are rapidly surpassing the maximum size for comfortable one-handed use by the average Android customer. None of this is to say there aren’t advantages to having a larger screen (particularly when it comes to media viewing), but given that people much more frequently use their smartphones for apps rather than media viewing, the argument for surpassing a users one-handed comfort zone to provide a better media experience is a poor one.

It’s not so much that screen-sizes are increasing (the chart clearly shows that other sizes are still available), but the bothersome fact is that it’s near-impossible to get a flagship phone unless you’re willing to buy one of the massive phones on the market. If you want a phone that comes in a size that’s comfortable for one-handed use, you have to be willing to settle as a second-class Android citizen — the only options available to you will likely have slower processors, less RAM (and may be based on an older platform) than the newest and biggest flagship phone currently on the market.


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