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M.I.A.: the Galaxy Tab Edge and Samsung Unpacked 2015
Samsung Unpacked was arguably out in the open and exposed weeks ago, given the tidal wave of leaks that had proliferated. One unknown factor however, was the mysterious “third silhouette” that appeared in the company’s main promotional image. The device looked to be curved, and given its proportion in comparison to the other two, it led to the logical conclusion that Samsung would unveil a Galaxy Tab Edge, or even a Galaxy Note Edge tablet.
Samsung has been all about patents in recent months and years, especially those related to foldable displays and products. Still, reports had indicated for months that there would be no follow-up to last year’s Galaxy Note Edge. Given the relatively poor sales performance of the darling device, this makes sense from a financial point of view: the costs, manufacturing, marketing and such all add up to a pretty penny for a doubtable dud.
And yet. There was that Unpacked image, and there was the simple fact that the Galaxy Tab S2, announced roughly a month ago, simply isn’t a flagship product by any means of the word. The tablet brings very little to the table and even manages to get its proverbial clock cleaned by several 2014-era devices, including the Galaxy Note 4 with which it shares the same SoC. The performance issues, coupled with the plastic rear and deliberate removal of several components (rear-LED flash, an IR port, vibration for the Wi-Fi model, even NFC) give rise to the idea that the use of “S” in the product’s moniker is arguably deceptive branding; the finished product is by no means on-par with the halo smartphone series by any means. (For more details, see our initial impressions here).
Naturally, the idea of a Galaxy Tab Edge, or Galaxy Note Edge Tab as it might have been, would have provided all the power needed for a halo tablet. In addition, it would have given Samsung an unrivaled competitive advantage against every other tablet in the market: the Galaxy S6 Edge outperformed its sibling when it came to sales seemingly for no reason other than the “coolness” factor, and by that account there is no reason to suggest a Tab Edge wouldn’t have done the same as well. To put it another way: when deciding between a mid-range type tablet like the Tab S2 and a premium, curved product like a Tab Edge, it’s safe to assume a fair number of shoppers would go with the latter.
Beyond that, the Galaxy Tab Edge could have helped further the SDK research for applications and content specifically designed for the new curved display. Currently developers can only work with the S6 Edge and now S6 Edge+, however a tablet would have allowed for a larger canvas to make use of.
The logic of reality
The idea of the Galaxy Tabe Edge is so appealing because it would be nice to see a truly premium Samsung tablet, something Samsung has arguably never delivered. As far back as the original Galaxy Tab and its $600+ retail, the OEM has always been about charging more for what essentially amounts to less. In considering the Galaxy Tab series as a whole, it has been plagued with criticism in regards to the poor build quality, plastic construction, and low-resolution screens – despite commanding large price tags.
In more recent times, Samsung has raised the bar a little with the Tab PRO line, which brought a QHD display, but still lacked in other key areas such as design with its use of plastic. And then there’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, probably the closest thing to a true premium, flagship-level tablet, though it was largely seen as a top tier product in no small part as a result of the snazzy AMOLED screen and in many ways still failed to push things to the next level.
Bottom-line, the tablet market has seen plenty of more aggressively priced devices push the envelope further, including the Asus ZenPad S with its great specs and even more impressive price tag. If Samsung doesn’t want to lead in pricing, producing a unique Edge tablet would at least give us a premium option worthy of a higher price tag.
The logic of rumors
Despite argument for why there should be a Galaxy Tab Edge, it also needs to be addressed why there currently isn’t one. For starters, regardless of what we might feel about the Galaxy Tab S2 and its specs, Samsung did just announce and release a brand new tablet, and to suddenly make light of an even newer one would certainly cannibalize sales of the “old” one.
Additionally, there is also the consideration that the original mysterious image reported on might have been a mistake entirely. As it came from Samsung Philippines, perhaps it was just an unused teaser. Or perhaps Samsung does have the device on the dashboard but simply wanted to save it for a later date.
Regardless of what truth may be out there, it’s important to remember that Samsung itself is not “guilty” of anything. No official product was announced or even shown, and thus any speculation or expectation based on anticipatory judgment needs to be dosed with the same prescription of skepticism administered earlier.
How long must we wait?
Given that there seems to be little hope of a Galaxy Tab Edge releasing this year, the unfortunate question then becomes, when, if at all? The condition is exacerbated by the idea that Samsung has released a sub-par Galaxy Tab S2 which eschews all traces of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, including the glass back. Likewise, the company’s clear new focus on bendable displays (read: the Galaxy S6 Edge+) would logically suggest an expansion into the tablet market, all the more plausible given that no one (save for LG) could even begin to compete with it at the moment.
With the Berlin-based IFA taking place in a matter of weeks, there is a possibility that the Tab Edge might be unveiled then, as Samsung would ideally benefit from the presence of a second device, as opposed to just the Gear S2. What do you think, would you be interested in a premium Edge tablet or not? Let us know in the comments.