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#ThrowbackThursday: How it all began with the Samsung Galaxy Tab

The Samsung Galaxy Tab was one of the first tablets running Android. It was well-equipped for its time, with a 7-inch display, processor clocked at 1 GHz and 3G capabilities. AndroidPIT editor Hans-Georg has fond memories of using this tablet – read below as he recalls his experiences.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab was actually my first ever Android device. Back then, for me at least, it was all about scanning documents and not having to print; having everything on demand. It was perfect for studying as all my important books were in one place.

I had bought an e-reader before this because it was significantly cheaper. But that didn't work so well because the display was too slow to show scanned PDFs. So I decided, in January of 2011, to take the plunge. I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab.

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The Samsung Galaxy Tab. / © ANDROIDPIT

Back when Android tablets were an 'adventure'

Although I had already used smartphones before this, Android was a very unique and new world to me. For example, there was the question of means: I had a Google account, so that was no problem. But at that time there was no Gmail app because Google did not have the rights necessary to trademark Gmail – at least not in Germany where I live.

So there was no Gmail app (or any updates for Google Mail, although I don't remember exactly). I was struggling a little at first to set up my email account. Unusual, for me at least, was that I ultimately had to experiment with multiple email clients until I found the perfect solution.

Initially, the Galaxy Tab inspired me. It was fast, it had a great display and was even UMTS capable with its 3G module. The display has a 1024 x 600 resolution which is laughable today, but for its time was very detailed. And 16 GB of internal memory! WTF? Even today, smartphones still come to market with this capacity. I find it really surprising that so little has changed.

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Still works: the Galaxy Tab with Android 4.4 KitKat. / © ANDROIDPIT

For mobile (including making calls) I rarely needed the Galaxy Tab. On the one hand, this would require a second SIM card and, on the other hand, I didn't need to go beyond certain daily tasks with my BlackBerry on hand. But for Samsung the 3G module was crucial. That's because, at that time, Google tablets were refused access to the Android Market (known as the Play Store today). But the Galaxy Tab was actually just a little too big to be a smartphone...

During active service I used the Galaxy Tab primarily for sofa surfing, listening to music and reading in the library. There, I was often mentioned in conversations about my approach – "electronic study aids" were then mainly notebooks. Internet-connected tablets containing every text was uncommon.

Making calls with the Galaxy Tab

I recall a time when I was extremely happy with the phone function. I was out all day and, when my cell phone battery was almost at zero, my tablet became my second phone. I inserted a SIM card and already I could call my girlfriend in the middle of the park under great weather. Perfect.

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The original firmware is no longer on my Samsung Galaxy Tab. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Galaxy Tab ran Android 2.2 Froyo from the factory. Samsung decided to offer an official update to Gingerbread sometime in March, 2012. Thanks to CyanogenMod, I wasn't on Android 2.3 for long – my Galaxy Tab runs today with Android 4.4 KitKat, although newer versions aren't available. They need more computing power and RAM. So, at some point, the processor was simply not good enough. Now the Galaxy Tab is another item on the scrap heap.

The Galaxy Tab was undoubtedly my gateway drug for Android

The Galaxy Tab was undoubtedly my gateway drug for Android. By this time the differences between BlackBerry and Android had become painfully clear: whether Maps or the rail travel planner, my tablet performed well, while my BlackBerry did not. Eventually, it was time for an Android phone – but that's another story.

Did you have something like a Samsung Galaxy Tab? How were your experiences with this early Android tablet? Tell me in the comments.

Every Thursday night we publish articles for #ThrowbackThursday. In this series, we look back at feature phones, smartphones and other gadgets that have been with us the longest. But what comes next week?


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  • BruinGuy 4 months ago Link to comment

    History lesson: The first Android tablet was the Motorola Xoom which became available on March 27, 2011, I bought one the first day they were available at a Costco. Waited for Costco to open up on a Sunday morning.. The second tablet was the Samsung Tab 10.1 on June 8, 2011. I bought one at Best Buy and promptly returned the Xoom to Costco for a refund.

  • Anyone think it will ever make a surprise comeback someday?

  • no one use tab now days

    • Fabien Roehlinger
      • Admin
      • Staff
      4 months ago Link to comment

      True thing. But it's great to remember sometimes the good old days. I had one Galaxy Tab as well. I really liked it.

    • You're funny, Parvind. I personally have two Samsung Tabs and using them regularly. Also I know many friends who use Samsung Tabs as well. If you don't use it don't ever say NO ONE uses it. It's not true at all 😂

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