Many companies are getting into the tablet computer market now that Apple has blazed that path with the incredibly popular iPad. Of all the competitors out there or on the horizon, few are as likely to threaten iPad dominance like the Samsung Galaxy. It is due out mid-month, just in time for the big holiday rush. It has many things going for it, but also a few things holding it back from being the iPad killer.
Many of the selling points of the Galaxy are readily apparent. The Galaxy will run Android, currently one of the most popular mobile operating systems out there. It will have access to the Android marketplace, which is one of the most popular app stores available also. It’s apps that are preloaded have been specially designed to take advantage of the screen size, allowing you a nice calendar and contacts app. It even comes with Amazon’s Kindle app preloaded.
Other perceived benefits though are definitely up for debate. The Galaxy will be a little smaller than Apple’s tablet, with a 7 inch screen. This puts it in league with most of the other tablets, as few have went 9 inches to directly compete with Apple. Many though consider this a benefit, as it will be smaller, and as some of have noted this will fit snuggly in most pants pockets. Now, I personally see this as a problem, as it would put it in danger of accidentally being busted, in spite of its tough screen. It also has two built in cameras, which has been a major complaint against the iPad, which will certainly be fixed with the iPad 2, but I think is also a mistake. I have my cellphone camera to take pictures with, which will be more likely, as it is smaller and more portable. If I need a real camera, I have my personal camera, which will work better than the point and shoot on the Galaxy, and my wife is getting a new Nikon soon, which will fill in a third camera in case of emergency, so I see little need for my tablet to have a camera built in. The big plus in Galaxy’s corner, I believe, is the addition of Flash support. This seems to be a true boon on Samsung’s part, but so far Apple is dead set against adding Flash support to their recent portable products, and I personally have come to terms with it.
In spite of these perceived benefits, I see several big shortcomings for the Galaxy. The first is the amount of memory onboard. Apple came out with three levels of memory, whereas Samsung is only coming out with a 16 gig model and a 32 gig model. In their defense, they will have a microSD reader, which will allow expanding the memory, in a way Apple choose not to utilize. Also, the Android marketplace isn’t designed with a tablet sized system in mind. The iPad is much more ready for this new style of computing, so the Galaxy’s apps will enlarge in weird, abnormal ways. The biggest problem though will be the possibility of contracts for 3G packages. The iPad has a special relationship with At and T or Verizon, that allow you the right to cut your data package if you don’t need it. Meanwhile, if you buy the Galaxy and you pay $399 for it, (which is cheaper than entry level iPads) you will be forced to sign up for a contract for 2 years on a 3G network.
In the end, should you choose the iPad or Galaxy? While both tablets have their advantages, I believe the iPad is the better system overall. The larger memory and screen I feel are major selling points, and it also comes with a better entrenched apps selection for tablet sized apps. Soon, I am sure the Galaxy will be available for a “test spin” in Best Buy and other electronics shops. You should definitely stop by and try it out.