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Samsung partners with DoCoMo on new Galaxy tablet and smart-phone devices

by Kazuaki Nagata

With the trend toward smart phones and tablet devices growing, NTT DoCoMo Inc. announced Tuesday the debut of Samsung’s flagship hand-held devices: the Galaxy Tab and the Galaxy S smart phone.

“Today is a big day for our partnership,” said J.K. Shin, who heads the mobile communication arm at Samsung Electronics Co. “Together (with DoCoMo), we are launching two flagship products . . . that will deliver true value and enjoyment through enhanced consumer experiences.”

Shin was eager to tout the multimedia aspect of the tablet.

“Samsung Galaxy Tab is the best device to enjoy many types of media such as the Web, e-books, video and music,” he said. “I call it a smart media device.”

Galaxy S will hit stores in Japan at the end of October and Galaxy Tab is expected at the end of November.

Galaxy Tab, which is expected to rival Apple’s iPad, has a 7-inch multitouch screen and is powered by Google’s Android 2.2 operating system. It has a GHz CPU and is Flash Player 10.1 ready.

It weighs 382 grams and is 12.1 mm thin. The Galaxy Tab includes a built-in 3-megapixel camera and users can also speak into it, making it compatible with services such as telephone application Skype.

The 4-inch multitouch screen Galaxy S smart phone is similar to the tablet version except for the smaller size and revved up camera power. It is 9.9 mm thin and weighs 118 grams. It has a built-in 5-megapixel camera that can also shoot movies.

Galaxy S has been gaining popularity worldwide, with Samsung reporting that more than 5 million units have been sold.

While both devices are global models, they are also able to perform some services specific to the local carrier, such as i-mode e-mail and DoCoMo Market, which is similar to Apple’s App Store. Also planned are an e-book store and reading application that will be launched in the near future.

DoCoMo President Ryuji Yamada expressed his excitement for the promise of the Galaxy series.

“We know Apple’s iPhone is currently the leading smart phone in the world,” he said, “but we think Android has great possibility.”

The smart phone competition among Japanese carriers is expected to heat up further at the start of next year.

DoCoMo plans to add five more smart phones to its lineup, and KDDI’s au announced Monday a new smart phone, the IS03, by Sharp Corp. It features electronic money and 1seg functions that many smart phones don’t have. au says it will support more smart phones as well, while iPhone’s provider SoftBank has not yet disclosed any new models.