Amazon began shipping orders for Samsung's 7-inch tablet Friday -- even though the device maker had originally intended its new Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus to debut in Indonesia and Australia at the end of October and not launch in the U.S. until mid-November.
The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is available with larger U.S. retailers who already have received the units that Samsung has shipped to them, the company said Friday in an e-mail statement.
"The nationwide availability date is still November 13," Samsung said.
Amazon is selling the 16 GB Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus for $400, with free shipping included. The 32 GB model can be pre-ordered for $500, and will likewise ship for free once Amazon has the item in stock. The other major U.S. retailers expected to begin selling the new tablet include Best Buy, Tiger Direct and Fry's.
Integrating built-in infrared capabilities, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is also designed to work in tandem with a "smart report" TV app developed by Peel that will enable users to instantly find and view their favorite TV programs as well as discover new TV content based on personal preferences.
"The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus -- with its built in IR remote functionality -- is a great platform for the Peel app and creates an ideal second screen experience for any TV lover," said Greg Lindley, chief experience officer for Peel.
With Peel's new app on-board, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus can double as a universal remote control for an entire home entertainment system -- from the TV set and surround-sound audio system, to a DVD or Blu-ray player and a set-top box for cable. The new "smart report" TV app can connect users directly to Facebook and Twitter so they can share what they are viewing at any given moment with their social-networking contacts.
Fulfilling Professional Goals
Though Samsung and other vendors are clearly pitching their latest product releases to maximize interest among consumers, tablets are also fulfilling the professional goals of a significant number of device users -- either as dedicated business tools or as part-time work facilitators.
"Gartner does not have any numbers yet, but considering how many of our clients are asking about supporting, deploying and securing iPad I would say that many of the current sales are for prosumers," said Gartner Vice President Carolina Milanesi in an e-mail.
Market-intelligence firm IDC conducted a multi-client study late last year and "is fielding a new one this month" to assess how tablet owners are using their devices for both personal and professional purposes, said Tom Mainelli, a research director at the firm.
"Specifically, we interviewed media tablet owners and found that U.S. respondents said they used their media tablets 80 percent for personal use, 14 percent for work use, and 6 percent for educational use," Mainelli said in an e-mail.
Using Google's tablet-friendly Android 3.2 Honeycomb release, the tablet has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, together with Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 3.0 radios, as well as support for HSPA+, or "4G lite," available from wireless carriers AT&T and T-Mobile.
Samsung's update of the original Tab 7 device that launched in 2010 also integrates both a back-facing, 2-megapixel webcam and a front-facing, 3-megapixel camera/camcorder.
Other device features include a microSD card slot for adding more storage memory and a USB 2.0 port, as well as an accelerometer and gyroscope for panning and tilt features. The device's display resolution is 600x1024p and it integrates TouchWiz -- Samsung's touch user interface.