CTIA Wireless: Samsung officially intros 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab

ORLANDO -- As expected, Samsung revealed an 8.9-inch tablet at CTIA Wireless 2011 in Orlando this morning. The surprise, however, was that pricing was revealed too.

ORLANDO -- As expected, Samsung revealed an 8.9-inch tablet at CTIA Wireless 2011 in Orlando this morning. The surprise, however, was that pricing was revealed too.

[Image Gallery: CTIA Wireless: Samsung press conference with 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab]

Samsung reps got things started by bringing out the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab that was first debuted at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month. It was greeted with mild applause, but at least we got some new specs and details. After a video displaying how the tablet fits into the lives of busy people as filmmakers and freelance writers, senior vice president of product and technology, Omar Khan, covered the following specs:

  • Virtually as thin as Galaxy S 2 at 8.6mm thick
  • 4G connectivity (LTE and WiMax models)
  • HSPA+ with speeds up to 21Mbps per second
  • Dual Wi-Fi antennas
  • HD PLS display (1,280 x 800 resolution)
  • Weighs 595 grams
  • Easy grip material on back
  • 6,800mAh battery that provides up to 10 hours of usage on a full charge

The 10.1-inch Tab will also host the new TouchWiz 4.0 user interface specifically designed for Android 3.0. Some of the special features to be found in this UI include the Live Panel (a customizable home screen with content that can be easily accessed and moved), a Mini Apps Tray (i.e. Calendar, Memo Pad, World Clock, Calculator), and a social hub that integrates social networking sites (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) into a single interface for those with “on-the-go” lifestyles. Also playing up the e-book reader function, Samsung will roll out the Readers Hub that offers approximately 2,300 magazines, two million books along with numerous newspapers and other publications.

Naturally, the big news was really the 8.9-inch tablet, even though it might not really be news considering all of the hints and unintentional leaks. Sporting the same high-definition display as the 10.1-inch model, the medium-sized option of the Galaxy Tab collection weighs 470 grams and measures 8.6mm thin. It’s powered by an unknown dual-core processors, but up to 10 hours of video playback time is promised.

Samsung has been teasing today’s event with the tag line “What’s your TAB life?” Essentially the answer is Samsung doesn’t believe in a “one-size-fits-all strategy.” JK Shin, head of Samsung’s mobile communications business, said, “people expect different user experiences for different screen sizes” and “our portfolio will satisfy consumers of every lifestyle.”

Most importantly, Samsung revealed pricing for only the Wi-Fi versions of these tablets:

8.9-inch Galaxy Tab

  • 16GB: $469
  • 32GB: $569

10.1-inch Galaxy Tab

  • 16GB: $499
  • 32GB: $599

The 10.1-inch Tab will launch first on June 8, while the 8.9-inch slate is expected “early this summer.” Retail channels haven’t been finalized, so stay tuned. Also 4G connected tablets are on the way, but pricing will be “very competitive.”