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Friday, February 17th, 2012

    Time Event
    3:01p
    Samsung released the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) on Monday, the follow-up to its original 7-inch tablet and its first tablet to debut with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The 7.0-inch Galaxy Tab 2's specs are underwhelming compared to the offshoot Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, a weird prospect given that the Tab 7.0 Plus is meant to be a bargain model.

    The Galaxy Tab 2 shaves some bulk off the original 2010 design, measuring 10.5mm thick and weighing 344g, but it's a tad thicker than September's Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus (9.96mm). Assuming it uses the same chip architecture, the Galaxy Tab 2 also downgrades the Tab 7.0 Plus' 1.2GHz processor to 1.0GHz. The Galaxy Tab 2 includes a 1GHZ dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, a pair of cameras, and the choice of either 16GB or 32GB of RAM. Those numbers make it more or less identical to the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, which should rightfully lead you to wonder why Samsung is realizing its latest device in the first place. The new 7-inch tablet feature a 1024-by-600 LCD display, it will also include dual-facing cameras, with a VGA lens on the front and a 3-megapixel setup on the back. Additionally, the device will be Bluetooth 3.0-compatible and have HSPA+ connectivity, though Samsung has not yet announced a carrier.

    In terms of software, the Galaxy Tab 2 will ship with Samsung Hub services, including Samsung Music Hub with a selection of 17 million songs; Readers Hub, which offers 2.3 million e-books and thousands of magazines and newspapers; and Game Hub, which provides instant access to various game titles. Samsung is also debuting Video Hub, which as the name suggests, boasts a selection of more than 1,000 movies to rent, as well as a trailers and reviews of an array of films. In fact, the Tab 2’s only significant feature is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which is supplemented by the latest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay. And, really, it’s TouchWiz that we have to blame for the Galaxy Tab 2 in the first place. Samsung announced last December that the original Galaxy Tab would not be getting the Android 4.0 upgrade because the tablet’s hardware did not allow it to run TouchWiz alongside Android.

    Along with Google's latest snack-themed OS, the Galaxy Tab 2 will feature Samsung's new AllShare Play service, which lets users stream multimedia content between compatible devices. Neither piece of software is enough to justify a new model and the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is expected to get ICS sometime this spring anyway -- presumably around the time the Galaxy Tab 2 hits shelves. The Tab 2 comes only months after the Tab 7.0 Plus, which was released at a two-year contract price of $249 to compete with the Kindle Fire. Despite the Tab 7.0 Plus's low starting price, it has slightly better specs than the Tab 2: a 1.2GHz processor and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

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