Even as Samsung prepares to unleash the next generation of Galaxy gadgets, the company is still tweaking last year's models as part of their carpet-bombing approach to niche branding.
The company recently expanded its tablet offerings into the high-end, Pro market, but for this round, Samsung has gone smaller, cheaper, and more developing market-y. Today the company unveiled the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite.
The latest 7-inch diet Tab will join the full-spec'd versions already available in 7, 8, and 10.1-inch flavors. However, the "lite" phrasing is somewhat misleading. In fact, this Lite tablet is actually heavier than its full 7-inch: 10.9 oz, as compared to10.7 oz. While the full-sized version measures 4.37 x 7.4 x 0.39 inches, the Lite beefs in at 4.58 x 7.61 x 0.38.
When it comes to innards, the Tabs share the same 1.2GHz dual core processor, 1GB RAM + 8 GB ROM, and ho-hum 1024 x 600 SD display.
In fact, there are only a few tangible differences between the two Tabs, but they're key. The Lite lacks of a front-facing shooter (thus eliminating video chatting capabilities unless you want to stand in front of a mirror I suppose?) and the main camera has been downgraded from 3 to 2 MP. The battery also shrunk from 4000mAH to 3600mAH, and the Lite lacks the Tab 3's IR blaster.
No pricing or availability for the Lite has been announced. But considering that the current Wi-Fi enabled 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 only costs around $170 the Lite may be flirting with the sub-$100 mark. That may be something.
Developing markets deserve better
Manufactures have been racing to create smaller, cheaper phones for the highly-valuable developing market, and affordable quality tablets will probably be the next great battleground.
New approachable price points will only benefit those who have been previously priced out of the digital age. However, I hope that the Tab 3 Lite will not prove to be a template.
Tablets are different than phones in that they are more akin to PCs — they can be the primary digital doorway as opposed to a purely mobile device. While it is a fantastic thing for manufactures to aim for the sub-$100 pricepoint (to reiterate: That price is completely speculative in regards to the Lite), I don't like the way that Samsung has gone about it. Specifically with regards to nixing the front-facing shooter (IMHO, that is far more vital than a back-shooter on a tablet). Everyone should have access to video chatting with the world.
One of the large marquee mobile manufactures will get the recipe for quality, entry-level tablets right. I just don't think this is it.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.