[CTIA] Samsung unveiled not one but two new tablet computers today at CTIA in Orlando, but the shocker may be the pricing. As expected, the company bowed its “new and improved” 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab II, which will be priced at $499 for the 16 GB version and $599 for the 32 GB edition, the same prices as the smaller-screened Apple iPad 2. It’ll be available in WiFi only on June 8 in the U.S.
Samsung also debuted a new tab size, 8.9 inch, also in 16 and 32 GB editions, at an iPad-beating $469 and $569, respectively, available this summer. Why 8.9 inches? It’s the largest size tab that will slide comfortably into the side pocket of a regulation business suit jacket.Both dual core processor Tabs are thinner and lighter than the iPad 2, 8.6mm for the Tabs vs. 8.8mm for iPad, and 595 grams for the 10.1 and 470 grams for the 8.9, vs. 8.8mm and 601 grams for the iPad 2.
Samsung addressed its other iPad-competitive issue as well – batter life. The Tab 10.1 boasts a 6800 mAh battery and the 8.9 a 6000 mAh cell that each supply 10 hours of video playback, just like iPad. But the Tabs also include Adobe Flash 10.2, which may degrade overall battery life. Both Tabs also boast a 2 MP front camera (iPad 2 has just a VGA imager) and records 720p from the rear camera, and plays back 1080p video on the 1280 x 800 pixel display.
The company also demonstrated a new user interface, TouchWiz 4.0 “Live Panel,” which displays a half dozen “live” panels for social media, news, email, et al.
TouchWiz also combines all the varying messaging, email and social media apps into a single Social Hub app. Handy for pulling up new apps is an Mac-like pop-up Mini Apps Tray, that launch new apps OVER currently running on-screen apps.
We’ll have a first-impressions hands-on as soon as we get our fingers on one here in Orlando.