Samsung Android Tablet Strategy Puzzles

Samsung took the wraps off not one, but two new Android tablets at Mobile World Congress. What is Samsung thinking?
Samsung seriously needs to stop announcing new Android tablets. Do you hear me, Samsung? Stop!

Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung unveiled its newest Galaxy Tab, a warmed-over version of last year's Tab 10.1, with some new software on board. Not very exciting. Samsung also showed off the Galaxy Note 10.1, though it didn't say much about it.

Let's discuss Samsung's silliness here.

First, there's the the new Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1). Yes, that's the real, godforsaken name, complete with parenthesis. It comes with an almost identical set of specs as the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0), which was announced earlier this month.

Those specs include a dual-core 1GHz processor accompanied by 1GB of RAM. That's kind of crummy--most new smartphones are shipping with 1.2GHz or 1.5GHz dual-core chips. The Apple iPad 3 is believed to have a quad-core engine. The Tab 2 (10.1) supports worldwide 3G data, with HSPA+ at 21Mbps in the 850/900/1900/2100MHz bands, in addition to 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0, and a bevy of sensors.

The Tab 2 (10.1) has a 10.1-inch display with 1280 x 800 pixels. It comes with two cameras: a 3-megapixel fixed-focus main camera, and a VGA user-facing camera for video calling. It can record HD video at 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second.

About the only redeeming qualities of this device are that it has a 7,000mAh battery and Android 4.0. Yippee.

Then there's the Galaxy Note 10.1 This enigma has not been fully revealed, but we can take some educated guesses. First, it's a tablet with a 10.1-inch display. Not too difficult to figure that one out. Second, it will ship with a stylus and the S Note application that's currently on the Galaxy Note. Third, it will claim to be the next-best thing in the world of tablets because of its 2002-era technology.

Samsung might impress me if this tablet has a high-resolution display, 4G support, killer cameras, and the fastest processors known to mankind. Hopefully we'll learn more over the coming days.

These two devices, however, beg the question: Just what is going on over there in Korea? I mean seriously. Samsung is bringing two more 10.1-inch tablets to the market at the same time. It *just* announced a 7.0-inch tablet and a 7.7-inch tablet. It also already sells a tablet with an 8.9-inch display. While it is nice to offer consumers options, this adds up to too many. The effective differences between these products is practically nil.

At this point, Samsung offers Android devices with 10.1-, 8.9-, 7.7-, 7-, 5.3-, 4.7-, 4.3-, 4-, 3.8-, 3.7-, 3.5-, 3.2-, and 3-inch displays. All Samsung is missing is something with a 6-inch display and it'll have a full house. Or a royal flush. Or a marketing nightmare.