Samsung and Telstra have jointly announced the launch of Australia's first 4G tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G.
Telstra says the Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G will provide typical download speeds of between 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and 40Mbps, and typical upload speeds of between 1Mbps and 10Mbps, provided consumers are in a 4G coverage zone. Like the HTC Velocity 4G smartphone, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G features dual channel HSPA+ connectivity, making it faster than most phones and tablets even when not used in a 4G coverage zone. The 4G network used by Telstra is best described as an LTE enablement of its Next G network. It runs on the LTE 1800MHz network band but "switches across" to the Next G network when 4G coverage is not available.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G has an 8.9in capacitive touchscreen but it's the physical design of this latest Android tablet that is quite impressive — the Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G measures just 8.6 millimetres thick. In addition to its svelte body, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 weighs just 470 grams, making it both thinner and lighter than the iPad 2. Samsung says the Galaxy Tab 8.9's ultra-thin form factor and lightweight design are ideal for business users who frequently travel.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, has a capacitive PLS TFT display with a 1280x800 resolution and features Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 also has a 3 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front camera, and is capable of playing back 1080p HD video.
Disappointingly, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G runs the outdated Android 3.2 "Honeycomb" operating system, though Samsung has promised an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade "in the future". The Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G also comes with Samsung's TouchWiz UX overlay. It includes a customisable "Live Panel" menu that displays favourite Web sites and social network feeds, an application tray of commonly used features, Samsung's Social Hub, which aggregates e-mail, instant messaging, contacts, calendar and social network connections, a mini apps tray and a "suite of enterprise solutions" for business users.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 will come in 16GB ($720) and 32GB ($840) variants, though Telstra says the 32GB model will "launch shortly". The tablet will be available on four Telstra data+tablet plans over 24 months, starting from $49 per month.