Samsung will be adding a new device to its Galaxy Tab line — a 7-inch tablet set to hit stores in late spring or early summer.
The Galaxy Tab 3, with its smaller form, will be another competitor in the mini-tablet market, which includes the iPad mini, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, Samsung’s own Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and, to a lesser extent, its higher-end Galaxy Tab 2 7.7.
Samsung did not announce a price for the tablet. But the specifications on the tablet sound mid-range, and indicate that Samsung could be aiming for the lower end of the tablet market to compete on price with Google, Apple and Amazon. The Kindle Fire, the cheapest of these small tablets, costs $159; the iPad mini starts at $329.
The company said the new tablet will have a WiFi version available “globally” in May. Samsung will follow that up with a 3G-capable version that Engadget reports will have voice calling capabilities. Samsung’s 8-inch model of the Galaxy Note, which went on sale earlier this month, included voice-call features in its international version, but not in its U.S. version.
The device also has a 3 MP rear-facing camera and 1.3 MP front-facing camera, 1GB of RAM, options for 8 GB or 16GB of storage, and display resolution on par with lower-end tablets like the Kindle Fire. The tablet runs on a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and also offers users the option to expand the memory on the device to up to 64GB with a microSD card slot.
It will run Android Jelly Bean 4.1 and, Samsung promises, will have a thinner bezel than its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.
Samsung leads the world in smartphones, but Apple still has the largest share of the tablet market over a variety of Android makers. However, as the analysis firm IDC reported last month, Apple is catching up with Samsung on shipments of smart devices overall — which include everything from desktop PCs to smartphones — with 20.3 percent of the market to Samsung’s 21.2 percent.
It’s not clear when Samsung’s closest competitors in this space will release the next generation of their devices. Google’s developers conference, I/O, was the company’s forum for releasing the Nexus 7 in June 2012; the company will hold this year’s conference from May 15 to 17.
As for Apple’s iPad mini, which came out in October 2012, Apple Insider reported that KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasts that Apple fans are unlikely to see the second generation of the iPad mini until the third quarter of this year.
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