Related pages

Summer Roundup - what's been going on as you were catching the sun

Strong performance from Intel System on a Chip (SoC) [Updated with less promising news.]

Amazons Top Twenty Best-selling Tablets

Budget Tablet Specification Comparison

One arm for each of us - thank you Warren

Alex Fergusson Architects

Galaxy Looking Back to the Future - Is the Samsung Tab 3 a Backward Step

RSS Feed Subscribe to news updates via RSS Feed

Over the quiet months of summer, Samsung have launched their new Galaxy Tab 3 series of tablets to join the wide selection that they already have available. But this time, things haven't run quite as smoothly as they might have hoped.

There are three variants of the Tab 3 (appropriately) known by the different sizes of their screens - 7, 8 , and 10 . The issue is that they are quite different "under the hood " making for a degree of uncertainty that has spread from the ranks of the cognoscenti out to the buying public.

The Tab 3s are languishing at around 25th place in our re-worked list of Amazon's best sellers (Which is actually off the list as we only show the top twenty.) This is still behind the previous generation Tab 2s and way behind the new Google Asus Nexus 7 which has had a storming start after being launched at around the same time.

Back to the Future with DeLorean

Back to the Future (1985) - Christopher Lloyd and Michael J Fox doing it the hard way

Things started with a cunning plan, I suspect, to play the strategist and ensure that the market for mobile CPUs - the main computing chips in these devices - is not dominated completely by designs licensed from Arm Holdings of the UK. So Samsung used an Intel processor for the 10-inch Tab 3. This was one of Intel's biggest mobile processor contacts to date. The problem for Samsung, is that Intel clearly still weren't quite ready.

Performance on the AnTuTu benchmark tests seemed respectable, but trying the tablet out reveals significant lag moving between applications. Amid mounting controversy, it also turned out that in one version of the Intel chip, the compiler was skipping over some steps in the test, which would make it appear faster.

And now they're in the market, the other Tab 3s turn out not to be running with Intel inside after all. The 8-inch version is running Samsung's own Arm-based System on a Chip - the dual-core Exynos 4212 which has been well enough received. However, the 7-inch version has a Marvell PXA986 - an Arm design again, but with a decidedly pedestrian reputation.

So the "launch" has gone suddenly rather quiet - in fact two of the tablets don't seem to be available today on Amazon's UK site. At the same time the updated version of the Nexus 7 from Asus and branded by Google has forged ahead.

Luckily for Samsung, it was a quiet time. David Cameron was on his fourth holiday of the year and may not have noticed at all. And lined up for the first week in September Samsung, along with quite a few other manufacturers, will be doing the main launch event for their Christmas product lines, probably headed by a Note 3 - an update to their successful phablet.

So what will they do? There could be a high-profile re-launch of the Tab 3 series at the main launch event. That would require a complete set of full power processors which might be out of keeping with the more cost conscious Tab series.

Or, on the other hand, things could stay quiet, with supplies of these slates might be kept down in the hope that the noise around the Notes and anything running Windows will be sufficient to drown out any adverse comment. This second option might compromise the long-term future of Samsung's reasonably-prices tablets altogether, but for all that, it's my guess that the quiet approach is the one they'll adopt.

[Update 28 August - It does look like things are staying fairly quiet. Discounts have appeared at Amazon. That could well be the core of Samsung's "solution". I suppose we won't complain about that. Especially since the 8-inch version is not too bad.]

Compare Standard 10-inch Specifications
Compare the smaller device specs and benchmarks



(© Richard Fieldhouse, 2013)


blog comments powered by Disqus