All eyes have been on Samsung this morning, with the company's compact tablet, the Galaxy Tab 7.7, finally breaking cover. It's hard to argue with a better-than-720p Super AMOLED Plus display, Kindle-besting thinness and 10hr battery (at least on paper), but the big question hanging over the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is whether - like its predecessor - its potential success will be scuppered by the North American carriers.
Initial US feedback to the Galaxy Tab in 2010 was reasonably positive, but by the time it reached Verizon, AT&T and others, one of the big convergence features - voice calling - was missing. The carriers opted to have it blocked, anecdotally so as to avoid customers dropping their cellphone agreements in favor of the Galaxy Tab (and hopefully instead paying for both a 3G phone and a tablet).
It's not clear whether caution over carrier positioning helped prompt the development of the Galaxy Note, but it's certainly easy to imagine Samsung greenlighting an oversized phone (alongside rather than instead of a compact tablet) so as to make sure their convergence hybrid would make it to store shelves with voice service intact.
So far we're yet to see any carriers jump on the Galaxy Tab 7.7, though we imagine Samsung will be pushing its HSPA+ slate across all of the major operators in the US. Without voice service, though, it would be a far more difficult sell.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 hands-on: