South Korean electronics giant Samsung has unveiled its new range of high-end, Android-based tablet, 'Galaxy Tab S, with an emphasis on entertainment and media. Galaxy Tab S is Samsung's thinnest and lightest tablet to date.
Available in two sizes of 10.5 and 8.4 inches, these are the company's thinnest and lightest tablets to date.
The tablets will be available for sale in the US in July and will be priced at USD 399 for the smaller model and USD 499 for the larger one.
"Tablets have evolved significantly in the past few years in function and purpose. The Tab S is our best tablet ever, elevating it to flagship status within our tablet portfolio," President and Head of Sales and Marketing at Samsung's IT and Mobile Communications Division, D J Lee told reporters at a preview in Manhattan.
He said tablet shipments could reach 290 million units worldwide this year and eventually will surpass those of laptops and desktops computers.
Lee said through the new range tablets, Samsung aims to increase its share in the tablet market, which has been dominated by technology giant Apple.
Samsung is the world's second-largest maker of tablets, behind Apple and its iPads and its global tablet market share has been growing at the expense of Apple's.
It shipped 16.4 million units in the first quarter of 2014, according to research firm IDC, down from 19.5 million units in the first quarter of 2013.
The Galaxy Tab S has an adaptive display which automatically adjusts saturation and sharpness based on the application being viewed, the color temperature of the viewing environment and ambient lighting.
The tablets will use Samsung's organic light emitting diode or OLED display and have an 8-megapixel rear camera.
Samsung has also partnered with Google Play, Google's online digital entertainment store offering apps, games, music, movies, books and magazines.
Additional features include a 'Multi User Mode' that enables users to create their own personal optimised profile, with a built-in 'Fingerprint Scanner'.
This Super AMOLED tablet combines the most advanced display technology with a full range of premium content for an unrivaled entertainment experience.
Super AMOLED delivers more than 90% of Adobe RGB color coverage – expressing more colors than ever before – and has a remarkable 100,000:1 contrast ratio which provides deeper and more realistic images by making blacks darker and whites brighter.
These screens are already found in smartphones made by Samsung and a few other manufacturers. But until now, tablets haven't used them because larger AMOLED screens are more difficult to produce.
Samsung announced two models in Galaxy Tab S, with screens of 8.4 inches and 10.5 inches, as measured diagonally.
The tablets will start selling in the U.S. in July at $400 for the smaller model and $500 for the larger one - the same as comparable iPads. Models with 4G LTE cellular access are expected later in the year.
Samsung is the world's second-largest maker of tablets, behind Apple and its trend-setting iPads. In recent years, Samsung has been gaining market share - at Apple's expense - by offering a wide range of sizes and quality.
Earlier this year, it unveiled a ''Pro'' brand aimed at professionals. The ''Tab'' brand has been used on Samsung's budget tablets and don't come with a stylus, as Samsung's ''Note'' tablets do. With the new screens, Samsung is elevating the Tab line to become its flagship tablet.
Besides producing richer colours, AMOLED allows tablets to be thinner and use less power because screens typically don't require backlighting. But IHS analyst Sweta Dash said the performance gap between AMOLED screens and regular LCDs has narrowed, while AMOLED screens can cost 10 to 30 percent more to make.
Samsung does have the advantage of making its own screens, and the South Korean company can afford to reduce profit margins on tablets if that boosts volume and reduces costs on the screen-production business. What it learns from making tablet screens might even help it one day make affordable AMOLED television sets.
Samsung did release an AMOLED tablet in 2012, but it was expensive and didn't sell well. The new ones will be priced more competitively.
The tablets are a quarter of an inch (6.6 millimeters) thick, which is thinner than iPads. The smaller version is also lighter than the iPad Mini, while the larger one is about the same as the iPad Air.
The new tablets will sport displays of 2,560 pixels by 1,600 pixels, matching what's found in the Pro series. By comparison, Apple's iPad Air is at 2,048 pixels by 1,536 pixels. Apple markets its displays as ''Retina'' and doesn't believe more pixels will necessarily be discernible to the eye. Apple is expected to refresh its iPad lineup this fall.
Until now, iPad rivals have succeeded largely by undercutting Apple on price, and better hardware hasn't been enough, said Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet and monitor research at IHS. AMOLED screens could change that, she said, because colours will pop out when compared side by side at a Walmart or a Best Buy.
The new tablets will also let people make calls when a Samsung phone is nearby and to unlock the device with a fingerprint. The tablets can support up to eight user profiles, so members of a household can get separate home screens simply by swiping their finger on the sensor.
(With inputs from AP and PTI)