Samsung Electronics America selected Madison Square Garden, a New York venue that has hosted such memorable acts as Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and Lady Gaga, to unveil its new Galaxy Tab S line of tablets.
The devices come in two sizes — 8.4 inches and 10.5 inches — and boast a thinner look and a crisper, more vivid AMOLED display. Wi-Fi versions of the tablets, priced at $400 and $500 respectively, go on sale in July. Versions for wireless networks will be available later this year.
Samsung also introduced an array of new media offerings designed to take advantage of the Galaxy Tab S’s screen resolution, including Papergarden, a Flipboard-inspired digital display of such popular magazines as Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair. The first issues of these Conde Nast publications are available free though July.
To add a dash of Hollywood, Marvel Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada took the stage for some scripted banter with a projection of J.A.R.V.I.S. (that’s “Just a Rather Very Intelligent System,” for you non-comic-book geeks), Tony Stark’s computer sidekick from the “Iron Man” films.
Quesada announced a partnership between Disney-owned Marvel and Samsung which will provide Tab S users with a free, three-month trial of Marvel Unlimited, a digital comics service. Samsung’s products also will be featured in the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” film, due out in May 2015.
The Galaxy Tab S also will offer access to Milk Music, a free (and commercial-free) Internet radio music service powered by Slacker. The tablet, which offers playback at full 1080P resolution, supports Netflix’s HD video content. Its WatchOn service provides on-demand access to movies and TV shows through the Google Play store.
Other features include SlideSync, which links the Galaxy tablet with the Galaxy S phone, enabling it to receive or make phone calls (even when the phone’s not within easy reach).
Data can also be transferred from one device to another by simply dragging and dropping files, though the example used in the onstage demonstration — transferring a business presentation to the Samsung smartphone before spending a night out on the town with a friend — seemed unlikely at best.
“They’re ready to enjoy New York City — and still be productive,” said Ryan Bidan, senior director of strategy for Samsung Telecommunications America, with a remarkably straight face.
The Galaxy Tab S uses its built-in fingerprint sensor to allow multiple users within a family to share one device, but maintain distinct user profiles.
Samsung used the unveiling to underscore its growing share of the tablet market, which has risen from 7.6 percent three years ago to 22.6 percent.
“We have made a major commitment to the tablet, because we strongly believe in its market potential,” said DJ Lee, president of sales and marketing for Samsung Mobile. “We have devoted substantial resources, not only to hardware excellence, but also to content and to a better user experience.”