Apple's iPad mini met its newest competitor Monday in the form of Samsung's new 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3.
Samsung is touting the new tablet as being a thinner and faster version of its predecessor, the Galaxy Tab 2, which made its debut last February. The new Galaxy Tab 3 runs Google's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, has a screen resolution of 1,024 by 600 and boasts a 1.2GHz processor, making it a step up, performance-wise, compared to the Galaxy Tab 2 and its 1 GHz chip.
Samsung said the new tablet will come in both a Wi-Fi and 3G version, slatted for availability in May and June, respectively. Pricing details have not yet been announced.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 represents the latest in a series of smaller-sized tablets to launch as a more compact alternative to the popular 10-inch tablet model. Apple last year broke into the smaller-sized tablet market with the launch of the iPad mini, a 7-inch version of its iPad tablet, and Google has also staked a claim with its 7-inch Nexus 7.
Microsoft, meanwhile, is reportedly readying a 7-inch version of the Windows 8-based Surface tablet it introduced last October.
According to analyst firm IDC, 7-inch tablets are quickly gaining traction among consumers, who seem, in many cases, to prefer their smaller screen sizes.
"One in every two tablets shipped this quarter was below 8 inches in screen size. And in terms of shipments, we expect smaller tablets to continue growing in 2013 and beyond," said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst for IDC's Tablet Tracker, in a recent IDC report. "Vendors are moving quickly to compete in this space as consumers realize that these small devices are often more ideal than larger tablets for their daily consumption habits."
The tablet market as a whole has seen incredible momentum over the past few years. In a separate report, IDC recently projected that tablet shipments will surpass PC shipments for the first time ever in 2013, propelled by a year-over-year growth rate of 48 percent.
Apple's iPad is still king of the tablet space, with 43.6 percent market share as of the fourth quarter of last year. Samsung is next in line with 15.1 percent, IDC said, followed by Amazon with 11.5 percent.
PUBLISHED APRIL 29, 2013