Samsung clearly believes there is a market for an 8.9-inch tablet -- for those who feel a 7-inch screen is too puny but a 10-inch slate is too heavy -- with the arrival of the Galaxy Tab 8.9 in America on October 2. But will consumers actually be willing to plunk down $469 for 16 GB or $569 for 32 GB for a Wi-Fi slate with unusual dimensions?
Measuring just 8.6 mm thick, the Tab 8.9 may be one of the thinnest tablets available at the moment (the iPad 2 is 8.9 mm thick) but is packed with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a slate at this price range. It runs Honeycomb (Android 3.1) with Samsung's TouchWiz skin, which offers Live Panel widgets, Mini Mode Tray for quick access to commonly used apps, Clipboard for advance copy and paste, and even a Photo Editor. According to the press release, the Tab 8.9's key specs are as follows:
Processor: Dual-core T250S
Display: 8.9" WXGA TFT display (1280x800 resolution) with Gorilla glass
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, DLNA support (can stream content from compatible devices such as HDTVs, monitors and digital cameras)
Cameras: 3-megapixel rear camera with including flash and autofocus, 2-megapixel front camera; 1080p video playback and full support of video chat and digital imaging
Battery: 6,100 mAh battery
Weight: 447 grams (less than one pound)
With a new, more industrial back cover design for both the new Tab 8.9 and Tab 10.1 (as opposed to the plasticky white back panel of the current-gen Tab 10.1), Samsung is definitely aiming for the professionals who are looking for a slate that can shuttle between the boardroom and the living room. Not only does the Tab 8.9 come preloaded with Polaris Office and offer mobile printing with compatible Wi-Fi printers, it also includes some heavy duty enterprise security features:
Full support for Exchange ActiveSync (version 14)
Cisco VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Sybase MDM (Mobile Device Management)
Cisco WebEx mobile conference solution for meetings on the go
FindMyMobile: If the Galaxy Tab 8.9 is lost or stolen, the user can track the device on a map in real-time; remotely lock the device to prevent unauthorized access and delete personal information stored on the device.
Though I'm not convinced consumers will be that excited by an extremely sleek and slightly shrunken Honeycomb tablet, businesses may find the Tab 8.9's security features especially compelling, no matter its screen size. What do you think?
Pre-orders for the Wi-Fi only Tab 8.9 start today on Samsung's website.