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Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0): Smaller And Ice Cream Sandwich-ier

Samsung's Galaxy Tab line of tablets just added a 7" smaller cousin.

Samsung just added a new smaller tablet to the Galaxy Tab lineup: the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0).

The Tab 2 (7.0), in both 3G and Wi-Fi versions, isn't just the first of Samsung's Android-powered tablet offerings for 2012--i's Samsung's first Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)-powered tablet. Pricing has not yet been announced.

The "7.0" in the name reflects its size: 7.6 inches by 4.8 inches by 0.4 inches, with a 7-inch 1024-pixel-by-600-pixel PLS TFT display. It's powered by a 1-GHz dual-core processor and outfitted with 8, 16, or 32GB of user flash memory with 1GB of RAM and a 4,000 mAh li-ion battery. Front (VGA) and rear (3MP) cameras, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microSD card slot, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (with Wi-Fi direct) and a GPS (on the 3G version of the product) round out features. The 3G version uses the HSPA+ network.

The main attraction here, apart from its reduced size--it's two inches smaller than its predecessor, the Tab 8.9--is the presence of Android 4 with all of its attendant new features. Among them, mentioned in Samsung's press release, is a function that has been the subject of a good deal of critical scrutiny: the facial-unlock feature.

The Tab 2 (7.0) also is slated to include Samsung's Music Hub, Video Hub, Readers Hub and Game Hub applications, which give users access to broad libraries of licensed entertainment content. Most users probably will just opt for one of the existing content-syndication platforms already available through Android--Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, and so on.

Samsung has offered the Galaxy Tab in other sizes before. Its earlier Galaxy Tab 8.9, from what we saw before, was only so-so as a media tablet, although its light form factor and on-device encryption made it that much more enterprise-friendly. (BYTE contributor David Chernicoff has also talked previously about rooting the Galaxy Tab 7, an earlier model of the 7" Tab.)

Samsung's tablet and phone product lines have been fraught with fractious legal disputes courtesy of Apple, who has contended that many of Samsung's recent offerings violate Apple's technology, user interface, and design patents. When the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Player were unveiled last year, Apple's patent fight with Samsung over the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S phones was well under way (and is still raging in California). Samsung has since lost to Apple in Germany, although Samsung has countersued Apple over alleged infringements of Samsung's mobile communications patents. And last week, Apple launched a fresh wave of suits against Samsung alleging the latter's Galaxy Nexus phones are, again, in violation of various Apple patents such as the "slide-to-unlock" function.

The Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) initially will be available in the United Kingdom starting in March, and available worldwide shortly afterward.

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