Samsung's new Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is smaller, lighter and cheaper than the iPad. So at least it's not automatically doomed.
This WiFi-connected Android tablet, which arrives Sunday for $249.99, also includes an ingredient absent from Apple's recipe: a universal-remote app and an infrared transmitter to control TVs and other audio or video devices.
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Unlike Amazon's $50-cheaper Kindle Fire and its cut-down version of Android, the .74-lb. Tab 2 runs a full and up-to-date release, the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich edition of Google's operating system. (A larger model with a 10.1-in. screen is due May 13 for $399.99) Lest including current software seem unremarkable, consider that six months after Google began showing off "ICS," this is only the second device I've reviewed to ship with it.
On the Tab 2 7.0, ICS didn't exhibit the crashes that I saw on a tablet running its predecessor, Honeycomb. But the selection of tablet-optimized Android apps remains weak, with the number of programs using the extra screen real estate intelligently (for instance, Evernote and Gmail) dwarfed by those that, like Foursquare and Twitter, simply scale up a phone-oriented interface.