Samsung shows off Galaxy Tab 2 series

The company takes the wraps off its first refresh of its Galaxy Tab series, which comes in 7-inch and 10.1-inch versions.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 series of tablets will be on display in Barcelona starting Monday, the first day of Mobile World Congress. News of the 7-inch model came a couple of weeks back; now, Samsung confirms that the 10.1-inch Tab will get a facelift as well. Both tablets will ship in the UK starting in March, followed by other parts of the globe. The new Galaxy Tab 2s come with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich; they will be the first tablets from Samsung to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich on-board.

While Samsung tried out a total of four different tablet sizes in 2011, the Galaxy Tab 2 will come in only two sizes (at least initially). It will be interesting to see whether or not Samsung continues to develop multiple tablets with varying screen sizes, or if it will eventually settle on only one size.

The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0's specs are similar to those of the 7.0 Plus that is available now. Both have a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 7-inch 1024 by 600 display, 3-megapixel rear-facing and VGA front-facing cameras, and a microSD card slot. In addition, both come with the usual variety of storage capacities (8GB, 16GB, 32GB). The Tab 2 7.0 is slightly heavier than the 7.0 Plus, but just barely; and it measures a smidge thicker, 0.41 inches to 0.39 inches. The initial specs supplied by Samsung do not indicate whether this model has an IR port for controlling your TV, as the Tab 7.0 Plus has, but we expect to confirm these details Monday when we see the Tab 2 7.0 up close for the first time.

As is the case with the Tab 2 7.0, not much has changed with the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is 0.04 inches thicker than its predecessor (0.38 inches to 0.34); it's a tad heavier, too (20.74 ounces to the original 10.1-inch Tab's 19.9 ounces). The Tab 2 10.1 has the same specs as its sibling, save for its larger (and higher-resolution) display.

As with current models, the Galaxy Tab 2 series will come in 4G (HSPA+) and Wi-Fi variants. There is currently no word on an LTE version of either tablet--strange, considering there was an LTE variant of the original Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Aside from shipping with Android Ice Cream Sandwich, the Galaxy Tab 2 series doesn't bring much else to the table. Compared with the current push towards faster quad-core models and higher-resolution displays, these minor refreshes make it feel as if Samsung is treading water--it would make sense for Samsung to sell these models at a lower price, with higher-end Galaxy tablets (such as the large-screen Galaxy Note we've been seeing all around Barcelona) joining the lineup later on. For now, it's all speculation; Samsung has not formally announced any pricing to speak of for the Tab 2 series, let alone its plans to join the quad-core tablet party.

These very tepid refreshes may not be the quad-core, high-def, or higher pixel density models we were looking for, but they're a start. Something tells me we'll hear about more new Galaxy Tab 2 models from Samsung in the coming months.

Look for our hands-on with the Galaxy Tab 2 series coming on day one of Mobile World Congress.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the world's largest mobile show, check out PCWorld's complete coverage of Mobile World Congress 2012.

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Melissa J. Perenson

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