Samsung's Galaxy Tab makes a strong case for buying an iPad

A few nice capabilities don't overcome an ill-conceived 'tweener' tablet with an ill-fitting Android OS

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Second, I like how the four standard control buttons -- Menu, Home, Back, and Search -- light up in a dim environment. That makes it much easier to use the device for reading or couch-surfing, especially since those buttons are all behind the glass, so you can't feel them.

I also like some of the Android capabilities that come with the Galaxy Tab. The voice search works quite well, for example, and the navigation app's ability to talk you through directions while you are driving or walking is much nicer than the iPad's "follow the position globe" approach.

Android's 3G tethering capability is notable, as is its support for Flash, which played smoothly on the Galaxy Tab. Although neither feature is a deal-clincher for me, many people will appreciate them.

Wait for a real Android tablet -- or get an iPad
Samsung erred in its 7-inch widescreen "tweener" display -- it's too small for the Web and rich apps but too big for smartphone apps. Samsung also erred in releasing a device using an operating system that is not tablet-oriented, especially since the operating system's maker, Google, has warned companies not to use it for such devices.

The result of these two decisions is a device that's neither really a tablet, nor really a pocket computer à la the iPod Touch. Unlike in the Goldilocks story, the size in between is not "just right." The Galaxy Tab is widely considered to be the best Android tablet available today. That's absolutely true -- which is why if you buy a tablet now, it should unquestioningly be an iPad.

This article, "Samsung's Galaxy Tab makes a strong case for buying an iPad," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com.

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