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Galaxy Tab 2's Big Leap is Android 4.0

Samsung's newest tablet is a small step from its predecessor, and the target competition is a bit unclear.

Samsung's first tablet running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the Galaxy Tab 2 announced today, succeeds the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab with little change besides the latest software.

Don’t expect anything groundbreaking in the specs department: the Galaxy Tab 2 runs on a 1GHz dual-core processor, with 1GB of RAM and a 7-inch display with a 1024 by 600 pixels resolution. It has a 3-megapixel camera at the back and a front-facing VGA camera on the front for video calls. The Tab 2 is 0.41 inches (10.5 mm) thick and weighs 0.75 pounds (344 grams), compared to the iPad 2’s 0.34 inches (8.8 mm) thickness and 1.32 pounds (601 grams) weight.

Samsung said the Galaxy Tab 2 will come in 8, 16, and 32GB models (a microSD card slot allows for extra storage of up to 32GB), as well as Wi-Fi only and 3G varieties. The company didn’t give out pricing and availability for the U.S., but confirms the tablet will first release in the UK and Scandinavian countries in March, priced at around $450 for the Wi-Fi-only model, and around $550 for the Wi-Fi + 3G model -- hovering near the iPad.

New Services

On top of Android 4.0, Samsung is adding its Hub line of services, including music, bookstore and newsstand, games and movies for purchase or rent. As usual, Samsung tinkered with the original Android 4.0 interface and added the Touchwiz skin, which includes S Suggest, an app recommendation service, and AllShare Play, which can live stream content from a PC to the tablet.

Since Samsung did not confirm the U.S. pricing for the Galaxy Tab 2, it’s unclear whether the company is targeting the best-selling Android tablet, the Kindle Fire; or the tablet market leader, the iPad. If international pricing is any indication, the Tab 2 has a price tag equivalent to iPad 2, although it offers a smaller screen for the same money. Compared to the Kindle Fire, the Tab is almost twice as expensive and very close in specs, aside from the cameras.

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