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Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 officially hits U.S. market

by Kristen Nicole

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 officially hit the U.S. market today, two months after its unveiling at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet comes in two screen sizes, 10.1-inch and 7.0-inch, with expandable memory via a memory card slot. Besides ICS, the Galaxy Tab 2 highlights include the Smart Remote App and built-in IR Blaster, turning the tablet into a universal remote for your personalized entertainment, tapping TV shows from Google Play or the Media Hub.

What’s noteworthy about Samsung’s tablet blitzkrieg is the prices. The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is priced at $250, while the 10-inch is priced at just $400 (set to pre-order on May 4, shipping May 13). That’s a budget-friendly alternative to the iPad, and a competitive price compared to the Amazon Kindle Fire and B&N Nook, which don’t ship with ICS. The Galaxy Tab 2’s price is a 20 percent drop compared to last year’s original Galaxy Tab 10.1, diversifying Android tablets around a particular price point and making top features more accessible to buyers. It seems Android tablets are finally approaching a turning point for market share and consumer appeal. It’s the combo effect that helped Android take the lead in the smartphone market, and it’s expected Android tablets will follow suit in the next three years.

Sony SmartWatch connects to Android handset

Further diversifying the Android market is Sony’s new SmartWatch, an Android-connected timepiece that lets you read texts, social network updates and emails, as well as manage calls and control music. The SmartWatch links to your Android headset via Bluetooth, and saves you from having to pull out your phone every time you’re pinged. First demoed at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Sony’s new watch has an OLED touchscreen and several color options for its rubber strap. Available now for $149, Sony’s selling the watch directly through its website with plans for distribution with other retailers in the near future.

Android app security weakness discovered

While it seems countless Android devices continue to hit the market, security threats continue to rise in tandem. The latest threat uncovered by Leviathan Security Group researcher Paul Brodeur shows that Android apps with no permissions can still gain access to personal information without authorization, tapping data on your SD card, handset identification data and files stored by other apps. The discovery raises new concerns over app and device security, and seem to circumvent some of the recent controls Google put in the Play Store for obligatory disclosures on how individuals’ data is being used. It’s another reminder that data needs to be protected at the device level, and that the mobile sector still has a great deal of maturing to do.

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