When the original Galaxy Tab was released by Samsung a couple of years ago I immediately headed to the Sprint store to check it out. It only took a few minutes with the Tab in hand to convince me to buy one, and that was largely due to the small form. That Galaxy Tab is still the tablet I grab when I want to read an ebook or spend some leisure time online.
The 7-inch tablet is very comfortable to hold in the hand for extended periods, making it ideal for reading ebooks. It's no accident that both Amazon and Barnes & Noble chose that size for the Kindle Fire and Nook, respectively.
After the release of the Galaxy Tab many interested in tablets claimed it was too small. Even Steve Jobs made the famous comment that a 7-inch tablet was too little to do much of anything useful. Those of us happily using the Galaxy Tab at that time just smiled as we knew he was wrong.
Even Samsung seemed unsure of the 7-inch tablet, producing the 10-inch model shortly after the Tab. Naming the bigger tablet the Galaxy Tab 10.1 confused the market as the original smaller model was simply the Galaxy Tab. Then Samsung starting shooting out tablets sized between the original and the 10.1, producing the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 in rapid succession.
Meanwhile those of us familiar with how useful the 7-inch form could be for most things continued to happily use the Galaxy Tab. Owners of the 9.7-inch iPad looked down on the lowly Galaxy Tab, but couldn't knock it out of owners' hands.
The Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble hit the scene and more folks experienced how good the 7-inch form factor was for doing lots of things. They weren't the best tablets technically, but they were more advanced than the aging Galaxy Tab and they were the right size so many pulled out their wallets and snapped them up.
See related: Why I ordered a Nexus 7
Now the Nexus 7 is appearing in the wild and lots of folk not previously interested in the 7-inch tablet are giving it a serious look. Google has put great hardware components inside and is selling it at a very competitive price to get noticed. Finally the 7-inch tablet is getting the validation it should as more people are giving the size a spin.
The rumors of an iPad Mini won't go away, and while I'm not convinced Apple will produce one if it does the smaller tablet will be validated on all fronts. I predict a smaller iPad may outsell the original big tablet, and we would start seeing little tablets all over the place.
I can't wait for my Nexus 7 to arrive. It's the only thing that can get the Galaxy Tab out of my hand.
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