updated 11:45 am EDT, Sat August 27, 2011
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 may still use non-tablet UI
Samsung may have ruled the Galaxy Tab 7.7 out of direct contention as one of the major tablet competitors if a discovery this weekend is authentic. Photos show a small tablet similar in looks to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 but with the same hardware navigation keys as the old model, possibly ruling out the tablet-native Android 3.2 in favor of 2.3 and possibly Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4) when it ships. The Android-Life sighting makes it clear this isn't the Tab 8.9 as it has Samsung's consciously Apple-like dock connector on the narrow side, not the longer side like its larger siblings.
The tablet wasn't powered on and couldn't verify either the choice of OS or what if any changes would be made to the design. With rumors existing that it might have a dual-core Exynos processor inside, the possibility may be that the Tab 7.7 is mostly just a tablet-sized conversion of the Galaxy S II that, while faster than the earlier Galaxy Tabs, might only differ from the S II through resolution.
An AMOLED screen is doubtful as Samsung had previously ruled out AMOLED tablets during 2011. The new version will be shown next week at the IFA show on September 1 and is presumed to be shipping within several weeks.
If proven real, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 would mostly just be a drop-in replacement for the old model and that most of Samsung's real effort is now on its larger tablets to better compete both with the iPad as well as with other Android hardware designers. Samsung hasn't said how many of the original seven-inch Galaxy Tab that it sold after reaching the two-million mark early this year, but it's presumed that sales tapered off afterwards and might have dropped further still when the Tab 10.1 became the center of Samsung's tablet line.