Samsung Galaxy Tab S unveiled: Fingerprint reader, dazzling display, and enterprise ready

Samsung Galaxy Tab S unveiled: Fingerprint reader, dazzling display, and enterprise ready

Summary: The Korean electronic giant lifts the lid on its latest Android-powered tablet, which aims in part to appease the company's growing enterprise base.

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(Image: ZDNet/CBS Interactive)

NEW YORK — Samsung lifted the lid on its latest creation in New York: the Galaxy Tab S.

The device's design remains vastly in line with its other Galaxy Tab counterparts, except for a thinner and lighter shell. But it packs a powerful punch with new features, technologies, and some enterprise goodies.

It's the Korean electronic giant's latest bid to take on Apple, its arch-rival Apple in the mobile space, with its flagship annual tablet.

CNET: Samsung plans to "go big" with new flagship tablet

Which, naturally, any mention of design from Samsung might raise an eyebrow or two for anyone at Apple, considering its legal design-focused dingdong between the two global giants two years ago.

Samsung executive DJ Lee said the company has "made a commitment to tablets, because we strongly believe in its market potential," citing as many as 290 million tablet units shipping this year, according to Strategy Analytics, and the massive growth the company's own market share.

He added Samsung now has 22.6 percent of the tablet market share with its Galaxy Tab range of devices. 

At the heart of the new tablet, which lands in two sizes — 8.4-inches and 10.5-inches — is a fingerprint reader, following its debut in its smartphone sibling, the Galaxy S5, embedded into the home button.

At a glance:

Two sizes: 8.4-inch, 10.5-inch
Super AMOLED display
Android 4.4 "KitKat"
8-megapixel rear camera
802.11 n/ac Wi-Fi networking

As you might expect, for the business user and the wider enterprise, the embedded hardware security technology, combined with the company's own Knox mobile device management software, is likely to pique the interest of corporate chief information officers and below. 

The dual-core Exynos S Octa processor-based tablet itself is about 6 milimeters thick — about five credit cards. The smaller model of the two weighs just 10 ounces, while the larger model weighs about one pound, according to Samsung. 

Compared to the smaller iPad mini with Retina display and the regular-sized iPad Air respectively, Samsung is pushing its new tablet's specifications — and likely Apple's own accomplishments — to the limit.

Throw these features together, and Samsung is clearly taking on Apple's already burgeoned enterprise customer base, which at the last count the iPad maker had almost every company on the Fortune 500 in its portfolio.

As for the tablet's other flagship features, the dazzlingly bright Super-AMOLED display sports a resolution of 2560 x 1600, or twice the high-definition standard.

It also comes with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with a 2.1-megapixel "selfie" rear-facing camera, and lands with 802.11n/ac wireless networking — which throws out some of the best speeds in modern consumer and enterprise networking.

The tablet lands with 16GB in-built storage, with a micro-SD slot for expandable storage of up to 128GB. 

And the battery will last for 11-hours worth of video, making this tablet a strong contender for any seasoned business traveler, and business and enterprise user.

Prices begin at $399 for the smaller 8.4-inch tablet, and $499 for the 10.5-inch tablet.

Samsung's tablet will be available from July, executives said.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Samsung, Tablets

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33 comments
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  • Finally

    I've been waiting for another Super AMOLED tablet. That's not a bad price for the 8.4.
    SunFire23
    • ...and enterprise ready

      Nope. Android is not enterprise ready my any means. Specs are good but it runs the wrong Os for business.
      gbouchard99@...
      • Android is

        for e-reading and entertainment only, not for enterprise
        Chamalama
      • "wrong OS for business"

        The cloud is the new OS. Big businesses are rapidly migrating their business services and line of business apps. One international company I know is now rolling out Chromebooks to replace Windows laptops. Many others are rebuilding the front ends to support touch devices.
        winGeek
        • I agree with winGeek...

          It is all about the Cloud. The device and OS no longer matter as long as it has capable internet access and a decent processor. Corporate security and apps are all in the Cloud. Not sure its a good thing but it is what it is.
          ryork272
          • lay off the cloud

            While the cloud is starting to play a bigger part in enterprise, you shouldn't be under any illusion that OS and device no longer matter. Why most of the collaborative stuff is moving to the cloud, local software remain king in enterprise. Companies will not just throw away millions in software and infrastructure investments just to chase cloud services, so they can replicate investments. Cloud makes sense for small to medium sized business that are growing; and cant or rather not spend the money. The cloud enable these companies to scale up or down based on needs. The best example would be email and webpage hosting. Any company can do both of these things in-house; but is it cost effective to do so becomes the questions. for things like email or web hosting it makes sense but hosting applications depends on the application and the scope.
            Meansman
      • Android is not but...

        Samsung is ready for enterpise. They compare well with iOS as far as MDM hooks with their SAFE implementations as well as DOD security certification with KNOX.

        But to expand that comment, enterprises would be far better served using the new bred of Windows tablets coming online as they are 100% enterprise class devices.
        Rann Xeroxx
  • Too bad it is stuck with Android OS

    Samsung makes some decent (albeit plasticky) hardware, but Android is boring and not as polished as iOS and not as useful as Windows 8.
    gomigomijunk
    • Probably the best equivalent windows tablet

      It's the surface, and after the $50 cheaper and the office offering there are not many advantages... if any. Specs are overwhelmingly better on the Samsung - weight is 45% less, more RAM, better cameras, better display, more battery, faster processor, thinner, ...
      Regardless of discussions around what's the best OS, there are not many good apps for the surface, even with the full windows 8, good applications for tablet use are scarce.
      In this segment's devices, windows is just uninteresting, with current state of the art for windows 8 I believe Microsoft will slowly abandon it and others OEMs will do the same. Probably to focus on devices that are more traditional PCs than tablets - like the surface 3.
      AleMartin
      • Windows 8.1 Pro

        I own a Galaxy Note 8, nice device, but I can't get excited about the Android OS. It is just cluttered and unpolished at every turn. Samsung has built a very nice device which I like, but just wished it ran Windows 8.1 Pro. The S-pen is really smooth on it, but Android doesn't support the pen.

        In contrast, I also have a Surface Pro and a Dell Venue 8 pro as well as a full-sized iPad and the experiences of the OS on those devices just shines through. People complain about the applets, the mini-apps of Windows 8.1, but realistically the app ecosystem is growing quickly and is sufficient....Even still, because the Windows 8.1 devices have a real browser, the need for mini-applets isn't necessary. A facebook applet isn't as good as real facebook.com. Even a twitter applet isn't as good as real Twitter.com....and certainly every mobile banking app pales in comparison to the real web version of their sites.

        Basically, it comes down to games. If people were honest, they would simply say the "game-let" (casual) games options for Windows 8.1 is what suffers the most and that is important to a lot of consumers. However, I can run steam on my surface pro and even the dell venue 8 pro and gain access to lots of games (albeit not the casual style).

        Finally, I played with the Surface 3 Pro the other day and was so impressed, I pre-ordered one. It is nearly as light as the Surface 2, isn't hobbled with an ARM based OS and had an amazingly sharp screen and more real-estate than the pad-lettes of the past. It would be nice to see a lower cost version maybe in a plastic body like Samsung has embraced, but the build quality of the Surface Pro 3 is very apple-esque.
        gomigomijunk
        • just a reminder that the OS on the galaxy line is "android compatible"

          being cluttered does not describe stock android. I'd call it "galaxy OS". However, I will say that stock android is a bit boring on a tablet. I don't see any need for tablets anymore anyway. I've owned several android based ones and ipads. The novelty wore off for me. (using a chromebook now)
          drwong
        • Well I'm not very fond of iOS

          I could argue that most of the things introduced in iOS 8 exist in android for years. But I understand why many people just love it - it's just my personal taste and usage.
          But moving beyond personal tastes, windows apps for modern UI are barely used - there are stats for that, it's not my opinion or impression.
          I think - and now it's my perception - very few are buying windows tablets without keyboard, and very few are buying android or iOS tablets with a keyboard - that tells something about tablet usage with windows... if my perception is not flawed.
          Surface 3 price is completely out of the range of these Samsung tablets - it's 2 to 3 times more expensive. The software on it is windows 8, that many don't want. On a desk is not better than my full HD very fast i7 laptop... except for the display resolution - and not one laptop maker use the fact it can change the angle between keyboard and display as a key selling point :-).
          It's true that my laptop doesn't transform into a tablet but I wonder how much that worth for the majority of people that don't use modern ui apps...
          AleMartin
          • Your perception is not flawed.

            The Surface Pro 3 is in a completely different category than the Samsung tablets. The SP3 is capable of so much more. Is it priced as such? Yes.

            Is it expensive? Depends upon how you look at it. Lets take a 64GB iPhone without a contract, $849 USD. 64GB i3 SP3? $799. So, price is relative.

            I pre-ordered the 256GB i5 8GB ram SP3 with a keyboard cover. It will cost $1500, but to me well worth it for what I am getting. I get:

            1. Killer screen resolution (2160 x 1440) and size (12" at 3:2 ratio). Basically the size of an 8 1/2" x 11" pad of paper.

            2. Powerful tablet that can replace my laptop (literally that is why I'm getting it).

            3. It will drive my new 27" 4K monitors that I'm planning to buy next year.

            4. Gets upwards of 9 hours of tablet-like usage (casual stuff like watching movies, reading books and such).

            5. Has excellent, pressure sensitive pen support which is fully supported throughout the OS.

            6. Isn't limited to single purpose applets only (although it can run them, both Windows and Android [with bluestacks]) and can run millions of FULLY functional desktop applications as well.

            7. Is lighter than any laptop ever built, including the MBA by a significant amount (2.96 lbs vs. 1.76 lbs).

            8. Enables many more use-case scenarios than you can't get by having to carry both a laptop and an underpowered tablet...has a USB3 port, mSD card slot, Mini Display port, Wireless AC, and more.

            9. It not only ships with an excellent web browser, but you can even download Chrome if you want, effectively doubling as a Chromebook.

            10. And the ability to transform into a tablet. What is that worth to people? Well, does it cost more than an equivalent laptop? No. So, yeah it is worth it.

            The SP3 can effectively replace a Laptop, Tablet and a Chromebook all-in-one. AND That is why I'M buying one.
            gomigomijunk
          • Not convinced

            I recently laid hands on a Surface Pro 3 at a Microsoft store and I have to say I was quite impressed with it hardware wise. Nice feel, good size, pen worked great.

            All that said, I just don't really see it as a tablet. OK, you can use it to take your notes with the pen but you're not going to do any of the things that it is really good at in tablet mode, you'll need a keyboard and that puts you back in laptop land.

            It doesn't help that I find Windows 8 horrible to use and just simply confusing/jarring as you bounce between desktop and "modern" to get things done.

            So, kudos to the hardware people, it is impressive. Points off to the OS people for being half baked.

            I'll still be pining for the Ativ Q that seems to have never come and be tracking this "5 piece" phone/tablet/laptop android/windows monstrosity that may come out.
            Robert Crocker
          • Debatable

            1 - Samsung display is probably equivalent, Apple heave high res tablets for years
            2 - No doubt, tablets have smaller processors, but mobile OSes are lighter and more optimized, for common tasks it will be hardly noticed... As a laptop S3 is at the performance level of many $600 laptops.
            3 - An i5 is nice indeed - but that's a niche use.
            4 - 9 hours is good but there are better, 11 hours for the Samsung of the article.
            5 - I can't compare Samsung vs surface pen, but pen input devices never were that important, maybe in the time of the long gone PDAs.
            6 - There are android or iOS apps for everything and growing, with cloud adoption, many enterprise class software is better on a tablet... but I agree windows ecosystem is huge... but just for desktop apps.
            7 - MBA 11.6'' it's actually a bit lighter than the surface with the keyboard, with a much better keyboard and battery life - battery is about 1/3 or more of what's inside these devices. MBA is also cheaper.
            ...
            10 - Even window tablets users, open a modern UI applications 10 times less frequently than in an ios tablet!

            Surface is a nice very expensive device, some niche users will find it great, but I really have a hard time understanding why some are so excited about it.
            AleMartin
          • Nice analysis -

            well thought out.
            ScanBack
      • This being a tablet market at business users (enterprise customers)

        This device is aim at enterprise users and in a enterprise environment supporting enterprise needs. Chance are they are using windows for desktop OS with active directory; why does that matter. Well windows 8 like windows 7 before it is build around a NT core. Now for the sake of this debate I will exclude WinRT. being able to move application developed for windows 7 to windows 8 is a easier than trying recode them to work on android. Another big thing that need to be consider is the level of control that admin have over the device. Being able to use group policies is huge, with iOS, Android, WinRT/WinPhone you cant join the domain so you need additional software to add them to your environment. using a windows tablet has it advantages when compared to it mobile counterparts, maybe not for consumers but for enterprise users the upside it big. I think it will become more apparent as more tablet pc get into the hands of CIO's; user have been asking for surfaces(we cant buy anything but Dell).
        Meansman
        • Not True

          Nigel Barret said "Being able to use group policies is huge, with iOS, Android, WinRT/WinPhone you cant join the domain so you need additional software to add them to your environment."

          Not true with Windows Server 2012. You can join non-Windows devices to Active Directory with Workplace Join using Active Directory Federation Services.
          benched42
      • But needs a heavy cover to match the durability of surface pro

        But needs a heavy cover to match the durability of surface pro
        Mac_Win
    • "too bad it is stuck with Android"

      Android is the device OS. Services and apps are moving to the cloud. The device OS is becoming less relevant.
      winGeek