Samsung unwraps latest weapon in tablet wars: the Galaxy Tab S

Flagship tablet hopes to cause a stir as battle for mobile market steps up

Samsung has struck the latest blow in the mobile device wars, unveiling its new Galaxy Tab S, which it promises will raise the bar for tablets.The company revealed the devices at an event in Madison Square Garden in New York. Video: Ciara O' Brien

 

Samsung has struck the latest blow in the mobile device wars, unveiling its new flagship Galaxy Tab S, which it promised would raise the bar for tablets.

The company revealed the devices at an event in Madison Square Garden in New York, talking up Samsung’s plans to keep pushing innovation in the market.

The Tab S, which will be available in 8.4 inch and 10.5 inch versions, comes with a Super Amoled screen, and is Samsung’s thinnest tablet to date at 6.6mm.

Samsung has brought its expertise in the TV market to bear in the development of is new flagship tablet, which executives described as “simply beautiful” and the company’s best tablet to date.

“I promise you this relentless innovation will never stop,” head of sales and marketing DJ Lee said. “We keep improving our product to bring you the innovation you want. As we have always said, our inspiration comes from you.”

He described the Tab S as another example of Samsung’s commitment to its customers.

The Android based tablet includes adaptive display technology that adjusts the image quality, saturation and sharpness based on the application, the colour temperature of the viewing environment and the lighting. There are also preset professional modes to allow users to manually adjust the display settings.

Samsung also promised the display would work well outdoors, even in bright sunlight. And because it is Super Amoled and doesn’t require a backlight, it’s also more energy efficient.

According to Samsung’s estimates, the Tab S will give about 11 hours of battery life on a full charge.

The Tab S can be connected to both phones and laptops, allowing users to transfer files quickly and easily. The Side Sync feature will connect Galaxy phones running Android KitKat to the tablet, enabling users to make and take calls from their phone on the tablet, transfer files and send messages. To connect to a laptop, the Remote PC function can be used.

Samsung has also adopted a “kids’ mode” for the tablet, which will allow parents to give their child access to age appropriate apps on the device. A multiuser mode, meanwhile, can be accessed using the tablet’s fingerprint scanner, allowing up to eight people to have different profiles and app configurations on the tablet.

The Tab S is set to launch next month in selected markets, including Ireland, with wifi and mobile-enabled varieties in 16GB or 32GB capacities. Storage can be expanded with a MicroSD card of up to 128GB. There are no details yet on an Irish price, although the US models will start from $299 for the 8.4in version and $399 for the 10.5in tablet.

Samsung is making its move on the growing market as it gains in importance among consumers. Tablet shipments are expected to increase to 290 million units worldwide this year, according to a May report from Strategy Analytics, and will eventually surpass those of laptops and desktops. Apple is still leading the way in the market, with almost 29 per cent, but Samsung has increased its market share in recent years, moving from less than 10 per cent in 2011 to more than 22 per cent in the first quarter of 2014. That growth has come at the expense of Apple, which has seen its share slump by 16 per cent.

“Understanding market trends is important; however, business is nothing without commitment and execution,” Mr Lee said, adding that the company had devoted considerable resources to the market to boost its standing in the tablet market.

That includes developing content and services for the tablets, such as magazine service PaperGarden, which debuts on the Tab S, streaming music service Milk and Samsung’s TV-focused application WatchOn.

A number of new partnerships were also announced at the event, including a link with Conde Naste’s digital publications, National Geographic and Marvel Entertainment.

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