The Samsung Galaxy Tab touch-screen tablet, billed as the first serious alternative to Apple's iPad, made its debut this week, and so far the reviews have been mixed.
Can the Galaxy Tab compete against the iPad and an expected wave of tablets from other vendors? Here's our take on what appear to be the strengths and weaknesses of the Samsung product that will determine its success or failure:
Size: The Galaxy Tab is smaller and lighter than the iPad (13 ounces vs, 1.5 pounds) and that makes it easier to use with one hand and to carry around.
Camera: The Galaxy Tab has not just one but two cameras (in front and back) compared to zippo in the iPad.
Flash Support: The Galaxy Tab is capable of running Web videos and applications that support Adobe's Flash software, in contrast to the iPad, which doesn't, thanks to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' well-publicized criticism of Flash.
Multitasking: The Galaxy Tab has it, the iPad doesn't (although Apple is working on that).
It's Not An Apple: Let's face it, some people will never buy into Jobs' insular Apple universe and will take the ABA (Anyone But Apple) route when it comes to purchase decisions regarding phones, computers and anything else. Some people just favor a Google Android platform over Apple's proprietary OS.
Size: The Galaxy Tab has a 7-inch screen, smaller than the 9.7-inch screen on Apple's iPad. Because that's a diagonal measurement, the result is a screen size that's barely half that of the iPad's screen.
Price: The Galaxy Tab is priced at $400 with a cellular data contract or $600 with cellular capability and no contract. Most reviewers, including David Pogue at the New York Times seem to agree that's expensive for what you get compared to the iPad's price tag of $499 for a Wi-Fi model with no cellular-data capability or contract and $629 for the cheapest model with cellular data capability, but no contract.
Battery Life: The Galaxy Tab runs for only about six hours on a charge compared to the iPad's 10 hours. What's more, you can't use a laptop USB port to juice it up; you have to plug it into a power socket to recharge it.
Flash Performance: A number of reviewers, including Walter Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal, reported that Flash applications slowed the browser on the Galaxy Tab to a crawl and in some cases had difficulties running Flash videos from sites such as ESPN.com. Pogue also reported that the Galaxy Tab's browser showed the stripped-down, mobile versions of some Web sites, not the full size site.
Applications: While there are some 100,000 applications available for the Android operating system that powers the Galaxy Tab, most are designed for smartphone screens, not tablets. (Google, in fact, has said Android isn't really ready for tablets.) Reviewers report some of the apps run in the center of the screen with huge black borders around them. Apple is ahead in getting developers to adapt iPhone apps for the iPad's bigger screen: 40,000 at last count.