Samsung is adding education to the markets it is targeting for its line of tablets. On Thursday, the tech giant announced a Galaxy Tab 4 that is intended specifically for use in kindergarten through 12th-grade schools.
The 10.1-inch tablet is rugged but, the company said, "student-friendly," and it integrates with Google Play for Education, an initiative that includes teacher-approved apps, books, videos and personalized teaching. School IT departments can manage the tablet via a Web-based console, which Google sells for $30 per device for school districts.
Tod Pike, senior vice president for the Enterprise Business Division, said in a statement that the company "is committed to powering education by empowering educators," which, he said, requires technology "built specifically for the classroom environment."
Near Field Communications
The Tab 4 also comes with near-field communications (NFC) technology, which Samsung said helps to quickly set up a classroom of these devices. The tablet will also be compatible with a coming version of Samsung School, the company's classroom management solution. Samsung School is also designed for use with the Galaxy Note 10.1.
The ruggedness is embodied in a protective case and Corning Gorilla class, and the 10.1-inch WXGA screen features 1280x800 resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. A MultiWindow feature allows users to have two apps open side-by-side, which Apple is expected to offer soon on the iPad and which Microsoft has been touting in its Surface tablets.
The Tab 4 runs on Android version 4.4 (KitKat), has rear- and front-facing cameras for capturing images and for video-conferencing, and employs Wi-FI 802.11 a/b/g/n for connectivity. Samsung said the battery life is up to 10 hours, 16 gigabytes is the standard memory, and a microSD slot can add up to 64 GB of additional storage.
USB Keyboard, Charge Carts
Accessories include a USB keyboard, which essentially allows the device to be used for laptop-like functions. There's also AllShare Cast for wireless mirroring of content to displays, and charge carts for storage. Suggested retail price is $370.
Samsung has positioned itself as Apple's major hardware competitor in tablets, as it has in phones. The South Korean company has unveiled nine tablets so far in 2014, and there's a press event scheduled for June 12 in New York. Reports indicate that as many as four additional Tab tablets will be released then.
Samsung has a 22 percent worldwide market share in tablets, while Apple's is about 33 percent, according to industry research firm IDC. But Samsung's position has grown steadily. Early last year, it was only 17 percent.
While it has begun to address the education market, Samsung has also targeted the business market for its tablets. Its recently released Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, for instance, has included features intended to interest businesses, including its screen size, a battery life up to 13 hours, the ability to move and stack windows, and a productivity suite that includes a word processor, a spreadsheet program, and a presentation application.