Another day, another Retina Display rumour. This time though it centres on talk of a new 11.6-inch Samsung slate, which will apparently land in February 2012 with a stunning 2560x1600 screen, outdoing the planned 2048x1536 Retina Display on Apple’s hotly-tipped iPad 3.
There’s no denying that’s impressive. But once again it shows rivals trying to use a superior spec sheet to take on Apple’s tablet.
And just as added connectivity hasn’t helped Android slates overhaul the iPad, neither will an amped-up panel. Samsung’s approach with its Retina Display is laudable. It’ll look gorgeous and undoubtedly give movies and clips played on the slate an added sheen.
But no more than that on a Retina Display iPad. And even if Apple doesn’t use such a screen on its next-gen iPad, highly possible if previous rumours of manufacturing and assembly issues are to be believed, Samsung’s plans shouldn’t harm sales majorly.
Why? Because trying to 1-up Apple in the specs department never works. It never has done.
Steve Jobs knew that what mattered to end users was not being able to reel off a device’s tech smarts, but how it worked once they got it into their hand.
This is most true when it comes to the iPad, a device that has had everything its own way until now.
Only Amazon truly understands this approach, hence its Kindle Fire isn’t centred around OS upgrades and snazzy specifications, but seamless delivery of content. Samsung will of course be able to crow about its improved display and the Android hardcore will lap it up. That’s fine.
But surely Sammy wants to be in a position where it can actually out-do Apple in terms of volume?
To that end it needs to look towards tighter software integration with Google, ensuring Ice Cream Sandwich offers the requisite number of decent, specially-designed apps, as well as breezy book, film and music access.
Without that, this new tablet will sell just like the current Galaxy Tab range: well, but not well enough. It’s surprising that major tech players are not realising that they’re making this mistake time and again. It’s all about platform and content delivery.
Of course, sharp design helps, but it should be about complimenting the entire package, rather than a series of numbers that only gadget geeks will want to reel off down the pub to their likeminded mates.
Samsung and other Android makers need to get out of this trap and start trying to take on the iPad on its own terms.