Samsung, Nvidia move to front of Google's Android tablet army

Samsung, Nvidia move to front of Google's Android tablet army

Summary: Samsung is talking about Android for the long-haul and Nvidia is demonstrating what a quad-core chip can do for tablet gaming. With Android tablets, there's always a next wave.

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Samsung, undeterred by a rather high-profile lawsuit from Apple, is doubling down on Android. Meanwhile, Nvidia is demonstration its quad-core tablet processor as a way to get ahead of Qualcomm. The message is that Android tablets will get better and come with plenty of raw power. The big question is whether that'll be enough to compete with Apple.

I've been testing Samsung's 10-inch Galaxy Tab---which launches in June---and anxiously awaiting Google's Android Honeycomb 3.1 update. Today, the device, which offers a compelling hardware package, has Honeycomb 3.0, which tends to crash third party apps. Overall, however, the 10-inch Galaxy Tab can be really competitive. The challenge with Android in general is that it's not as easy to consume music and movies as it is on the iPad. Cue your Amazon tablet talk here, but for someone like me who primarily browses, checks email and plays Angry Birds, the Tab is fine.

The news out of Computex thus far can be boiled down to a simple sentence: Android partnerships are strong. In a Wall Street Journal interview, J.K. Shin, chief of Samsung's mobile division, made the following points:

  • Samsung was caught off guard by Apple, but Android made it a player quickly.
  • Future tablets will also revolve around Android.
  • Samsung denies that it copied Apple's design.
  • Tablet shipments should surge to 7.5 million units for Samsung.
  • Samsung has its own mobile software, dubbed Bada, but Android appears to be winning.

Now Samsung will face a bevy of rivals on the Android tablet front, but it has the sister component divisions and scale to engage in a price war. In the end, Samsung may wind up being Google's biggest Android ally when you add up sales from the Galaxy smartphone and tablet franchise.

If Android can't deliver the ease of use the iPad can, Google's allies are clearly betting on performance. Enter Nvidia, which demonstrated its quad-core chip called Kal-El. Nvidia's next-gen Tegra chip supports enhanced graphics and 3D stereo.

The demo is certainly worth a look, but the wild-card will be battery life. Can Nvidia up the performance with reasonable tablet battery life? Qualcomm is clearly betting that Nvidia can't.

In the end, Android has the partner ecosystem lined up. Give these demos and initial talks a year or so and we'll see if Android tablets garner further momentum. For now though, it's Apple in a rout.

Topics: Android, Google, Hardware, Laptops, Mobile OS, Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones, Tablets

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9 comments
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  • For now, Galaxy Tab 10.1 Tegra 2 is much weaker than iPad 2's A5

    It is thrice slower in graphics and almost ten times slower in vector FP calculations (due to NVidia's making weak graphic co-processor and choosing ARM's reference design without proper vFPU).<br><br>Also, while Samsung tablet's screen has 30% better details/clarity/two dimensional resolution, the matrix is still cheap TFT. It does not use IPS TFT technology (like iPad 1/2) since Samsung does not have licence from Hitachi to produce such displays. And Samsung can not use AMOLED yet due to weak production volume and high price of such displays of this size.<br><br>And Galaxy Tab 10.1's screen's layers are not glued together to fight parasitic refraction (Samsung marks use of such technology with use of "Super" or "Super Clear" word before LCD/AMOLED).<br><br>Both quality and quantity of tablets applications are incomparable for now and at least couple of coming quarters; iPad wins here.<br><br>So there is not much point to buy Samsung Galaxy 10.1 unless buyer has purely <b>religious</b> preferences.<br><br>And, of course, the design concept belong to Jonathan Ive and his colleagues.
    DDERSSS
    • Tegra 3 promises to be equal to A5 in graphics (thrice faster than Tegra 2)

      or even top A5 (tests will be needed to establish that), and much faster in integer calculations, if there will be software to actually use all four cores effectively -- like the demo in the video, where dynamic lighting is calculated by main cores, leaving visualisation to NVidea's graphic co-processors.<br><br>It is unknown yet if NVidia will use actual vFPU or not.
      DDERSSS
    • RE: Samsung, Nvidia move to front of Google's Android tablet army

      @denisrs <br><br>Samsung doesnt need "IPS display" <br><br>It has its PLS display(which is far superior to IPS display) and is already inside the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 displays. <br><br> Google it.
      ConceptVBS
    • RE: Samsung, Nvidia move to front of Google's Android tablet army

      @denisrs

      Design concept? As in thin, portable, large touch screen enabled device?

      Samsung already launched a tablet long before Apple did.

      Its called the Samsung Q1. Google that too.
      ConceptVBS
    • RE: Samsung, Nvidia move to front of Google's Android tablet army

      @ConceptVBS: actual characteristics of PLS display are not known. So before believing that PLS is "superior" to IPS, we have to see some actual confirmation like tests.

      Otherwise you have to believe in other Samsung's marketers/PR claims like that Samsung's came up on its own with Galaxy design, which is way to similar to Apple's design from head to toe (from the package to the icons of Android UI skin).
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Samsung, Nvidia move to front of Google's Android tablet army

        @denisrs
        Are you an Apple marketer or what?
        Apple had better sue anything thin and rectangular in black (and white) because they think they invented it, lol.
        coolfast
      • Unless viewer is blind fanatic, there is no way to deny that Samsung copied

        @coolfast: ... Apple's design with only slight changes to not make it an absolute copy, id est forged product as some Chinese companies do.<br><br>However, these little changes in design do not protect Samsung from "trade dress protection" laws, so Apple sues them.
        DDERSSS
    • RE: Samsung, Nvidia move to front of Google's Android tablet army

      @denisrs

      Are you an Apple shill? That sounded suspiciously like an Apple advertisement.
      josh92
  • RE: Samsung, Nvidia move to front of Google's Android tablet army

    Personally I'm more interested in the RDP capabilities of the new tablets. I know 2X Software offers an effective RDP client, the 2X Client for Android (www.2x.com/virtualdesktop/android). Found it very impressive throughout the testing process; take a look for yourself!
    jimmytran