Entering the Android Galaxy with the Samsung Galaxy tab

by Arvid Bux

Just yesterday I learned that Media Markt Germany would be selling the Samsung Galaxy tab in their stores on October 14. As I live pretty close to the German border, it was easy for me to quickly jump across and get myself a Samsung Galaxy tab.

The setup of the device works the same as for any other Android device, and I think that is one of the great advantages of Android over other mobile operating systems. You punch in your credentials and you’re up-and-running. Emails, contacts, calendars, and so on, everything just syncs perfectly over the air to your device.

The items in the box are quite limited right now, but as seen during the IFA trade show in Berlin this year, Samsung will be releasing some exciting accessories soon, ranging from a keypad to an HDMI-connector. At the moment, the only accessories are the power cord, the USB-cable, and a headphone set with microphone.

With its 7” screen, the device can be held perfectly in one hand and you can type of swipe with the other hand. I noticed that the stock browser does a perfect job in resizing the web pages you are viewing, either in landscape or portrait mode. Sharing remains a breeze, and you can send updates to Twitter in an instant.

Calling with the device works perfectly well too. By default, the Samsung Galaxy tab uses the in-built speakers, but the person calling you doesn’t really hear that familiar speakerphone echo common to many phones. Whether I will really use the tab as a replacement for my phone, I’m not sure, but it is a useful feature anyway. The video calling is a nice touch as well: I was able to test it during the IFA, but I haven’t tried it again yet.

What I just love about Android is that I can easily install the same apps that I have running on my phone. The only issue with this is that not all apps are built for such a large screen, so they sometimes look a bit strange. Developers can write code for Froyo which will automatically scale the app to fit the screen. Some developers haven’t done this yet, so we will have to wait until everybody catches up.

 

Here are some apps I tried quickly:

Twidroyd: It’s amazing to see your Twitter stream on such large screen! It works perfectly and the LivePreview mode really comes into its own on a 7” screen. Unfortunately, the Twitter avatars are rather small which means that on such a large screen the images are a bit vague, but I know for sure that the developers will fix that as soon as possible now the device is on the market.

NewsRob Pro: My favorite RSS-reader, syncs perfectly with Google Reader. On a large screen like the Galaxy tab, you can really sit back and browse through all the interesting posts that are coming through your reader with ease. I love this app even more now!

 

eBooks by Kobo: 'Readers Hub' is an exclusive app for the Samsung tablet for magazines and newspapers. The books-section is powered by Kobo which already works well on my Nexus One. The books I was reading on my Nexus also show up on my Galaxy tab now, which makes it easier to keep on reading.

WhatsApp: This app for text messaging is still in beta for Android devices, but installs the same way it does on a normal phone, and works like a charm. You will have to put in a sim-card in order to enable it, but after that, you can remove it and still use WhatsApp. You can’t use WhatsApp on your phone and tablet at the same time: WhatsApp will notice it has been installed on a different device. I hope the developer of WhatsApp will find a solution to this!

Spotify: Music on the go! Spotify installed quickly on my tab and it syncs the playlists that I have on my Nexus One and desktop app. Music sounds good (not perfect) on the stereo speakers. As mentioned above, some apps are not ready to be used on a large display, and Spotify is one of them. Hopefully they will fix that soon.

I will keep on testing more apps when I find the time to do so. The important apps are working just fine, so this will be encouraging for new Samsung Galaxy tab owners.