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Rumor: Samsung working on 4:3 screen Galaxy Tabs and Notes

SamMobile has uncovered a rumor that says Samsung might be working on an unprecedented 4:3 screen aspect ratio for some of its mid-ranged 2015 tablets.

Published onJanuary 21, 2015

Nexus 9 Vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4-14

These days Samsung-related news is typically of two varieties: hype for its upcoming products or else, more commentary about its current financial situation. Suffice to say, the Korean conglomerate has some very big shoes to fill this year as it seeks to stem the loss of sales and market share that characterized the past one. According to a new rumor, it just might be doing this by a more unconventional method, namely buying a new pair.

SamMobile uncovered some allegedly new tablets from Samsung, and is now reporting that some (or all) of these devices may, in fact, have 4:3 aspect ratios. Specifically:

  • SM-T35x/SM-T55x: These may be the Galaxy Tab 5 product line and are said to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 Quad-Core, 64-bit CPU. The former would have an 8-inch display, and the latter a 9.7-inch display.
  • SM-P35x/SM-P55x: These may be new Galaxy Note products, with the former replacing 2013’s Galaxy Note 8.0 and the latter having a 9.7-inch display. They would also include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chip.  SamMobile notes these might, in-fact, be mid-range products in the Note series and not the rumored Galaxy Note 10.1 2015 Edition that may-or-may-not be unveiled at MWC in March.

None of these devices are expected to ship in the first half of the year given how fresh the information is; it suggests Samsung has only just begun to work on them. Additionally the idea of an 8-inch display isn’t exactly 4:3 aspect, thus they could end up being 7.9 inches.

Putting aside the rumor-issue, the idea of Samsung making a 9.7-inch device is definitely something of interest. To date, there have been a very small number of 4:3 aspect ratio big-name tablets for Android, with perhaps the most recent being the HTC Nexus 9. Samsung has an untold number of tablets yet they almost all adhere to a 16:9 or 16:10 widescreen aspect ratio.

For reference, Apple’s iPad/iPad Air and iPad Mini products all utilize a 4:3 aspect ratio. The size allows products to be in a slightly more squared form factor than their 16:9 brethren, and this makes things like typing or reading books a bit easier. At the same time however, it also creates unsightly “black bars” of wasted space when viewing any kind of HD content in landscape mode as HD content such as movies, are created in 16:9. The effect is the same as that in the late 90’s when people began watching widescreen DVD movies on 4:3 aspect ratio CRT televisions.

Samsung largely focuses on 16:9 displays for its tablets, but some like the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Galaxy Note 8.0, use 16:10.

While some have criticized the Nexus 9 for being 4:3, others find it more comfortable to operate and can overlook the aforementioned “dead space” when viewing media. If Samsung is going to implement this form factor, it would not only serve to legitimize the Nexus 9’s design, but also create a potential new major market for Android tablets. (Also up-in-the-air: what aspect ratio HTCmight choose for its rumored non-Nexus, Nexus 9 tablet.

Nexus 9 Keyboard Folio-6
Is the Nexus 9 actually more forward-thinking than we realize?

Likewise, it would allow Samsung, one of the largest tablet manufacturers, to better compete with the likes of Apple. The potential of a 4:3 Galaxy Tab S with SAMOLED screen and possibly made of all-metal would literally put it head-to-head with Apple’s offerings, in which case the screen technology would be a major deciding point between customers on-the-fence. Likewise, it would be a brand new market for Samsung itself its major rivals are all committed to 16:9.

Assuming a 4:3 Galaxy Tab/Note were to pan out, would you be interested in buying it? Could this potentially be major new area for Samsung to tap its tablets into?

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