A New/Old Player in Town – The Tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab

As technology leaps forward, we cannot help but to ask ourselves “why aren’t we a part of that?” Unless you have been sleeping under a rock for the last few months, you will probably have noticed that there is a new breed of devices in the mobile tech world… the tablet. This concept is far from being new since Tablet type computers have been around for well over 10 years. However, these were always bulky and, in essence, were computers with swivel displays, which turned a regular laptop in what we know today as the tablet. You have to keep in mind that, even though more powerful than most of our current tablet models, it had more weight and a price tag to match the added power.

For a while, it was thought that these UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) as they were deemed later, were the pinnacle of mobile technology. However, there was a flaw in that line of reasoning… the device was built on a platform that was not designed for the type of usage or even the mobility that was intended for it. As a result, since the devices needed to become smaller and cheaper, the hardware started getting worse (less powerful) but the OS remained the same, and in fact got worse as the newer generations of UMPC started coming fitted with Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows Vista. The whole nature of Vista requires whatever device running it to have very decent hardware to run it in a quasi-stable and hassle free manner. Needless to say, this was no longer the case for many UMPC models out there as more power meant a bigger price tag, which had been driving customers away from this market. Look at some examples:

  • HTC Shift – $704.00
  • Sony Vaio UX Series – $820 (for the UX390N)
  • Lenovo ThinPad X Series – $1,499.99 (for the X201)
  • Dell Latitude XT2 – $2,423.00

Most of these prices were taken either from the manufacturer’s website or from other resellers around the web. In you look carefully, many of the aforementioned devices are a few years old and still have a price tag close to or higher than $1,000, and this emphasizes the point that, while this is a good product, it is not meant for what it is being marketed. At this point, it was Google to the rescue. The Android OS was born and while one of the biggest hypes of the OS was its ability to work on most mobile embedded systems, it was primarily focused on mobile phones to try to compete with the immensely popular iPhone.

Jumping a little back in time, we also see the evolution of a new breed of simpler devices, the eBook reader. While not nearly as complete (functionality wise) as other tablets, the reader had one purpose only and that was to properly display eBooks on a screen that was larger (and hence easier to read) than even the largest mobile phones (HTC Athena, and so on). The interface is simple and therefore does not require an awful lot of computing power, which allowed manufacturers to sell this at a fraction of the cost of any other device capable of performing the same task. As people were actually able to purchase this without the need of getting a mortgage on their house, Apple decided to make their iPhone a tad bigger, and as a result, the iPad was born. The device is marketed to compete directly with the other readers, but because of the added hardware and functionality, the model fit perfectly into a dying market. Again, because of all the added “extras”, you cannot get an iPad for less than $400, still, a better situation than with the above quoted tablets.

A little earlier in the article, we mentioned Android’s versatility for embedded devices. As a result of this, and the sudden resurrection of the tablet market (courtesy of Apple), other manufacturers saw themselves in the need to release their own types of tablets. In order to compete in such market, they decided to equip their products with OS4’s current nemeses, Android. Samsung’s latest product line will soon carry the Galaxy Tablet (based on the Galaxy S phone series) to try and penetrate the market, and as we will not be left behind, xda-developers decided that we would provide this new breed of devices with a new home for its development, and in case you have not seen it, we made an announcement for its addition.

Swing by and visit the Galaxy Tablet’s home.


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