Thursday night, Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature and I went to the Samsung Experience Store in Columbus Circle, Manhattan, NY to check out the new Samsung Tab 7″ Android-powered Tablet that they were announcing. The device is a nice size. It’s smaller than normal Windows 7 Tablet PCs, and smaller still than the Apple iPad. Yet it’s plenty bigger than the Pocket PCs, and 4.3″ screened monster phones that are so popular today.
The Samsung Tab is running Android 2.2 which supports Adobe Flash 10 in-browser. In portrait layout, it’s basically a very large Android phone without the phone part. There’s no dialer on the Tab, but it will arrive in versions that are compatible with broadband wireless internet access on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. That’s great news since you won’t be stuck with having to sign up with a single specific carrier. A WiFi-only version will also be available for those who don’t need another service contract with a mobile provider.
We got some hands-on time with the Samsung Tab as seen in the video above. Nobody, including multiple Samsung representatives, could figure out why the device was not rotating its orientation with the accelerometer. One rep suggested that this was still early software and may not be finished. Searching through the settings dialogs and hardware buttons for a screen-rotation-lock option yielded no results. Fortunately, by the end of the night, somebody figured out that the screen lock toggle was hidden in the notifications bar. After we got around that, the device became much easier to use in landscape mode especially in the Gmail app, which offered a very nice split-screen view.
The new Samsung Media Hub application didn’t give us a whole lot of luck. The app seemed very basic and similar to the Blockbuster app, but that’s not a bad thing. You can browse movies and buy them straight from the device. Unfortunately, the device seemed to hang when attempting to play previews from the Media Hub interface. We’re not sure if it was a software bug or network issues, but hopefully the experience will be better with the final devices.
There were also some nice accessories on display. Here’s a keyboard dock.