Why, Samsung? WHY?!

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

I've been spending the past few days using and reviewing Samsung's new Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. Aside from gritting my teeth every time I type the product's name (could you have squeezed a few more numbers in there, Samsung?), I find myself having one recurring thought about this latest Galaxy tablet:

WHY?!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

Let me explain: The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, you see, is basically the same thing as the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus that Samsung launched last fall. The new Tab 2 7.0 has a few minor differences -- it's slightly thicker, has a slightly lower-clocked processor (1GHz vs. 1.2GHz), and has a slightly worse front-facing camera -- but for the most part, there's nothing significant separating this tablet from its predecessor.

Nothing, that is, except for two key things: It costs a hundred bucks less and it's running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.

Look, I get it: The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is all about Samsung getting into the budget-priced ICS tablet game. But why the hell did the company have to release yet another slightly-different variation of an existing product in order to accomplish that?

The underlying issue here is that the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and the also-similar Galaxy Tab 7.7 are both still waiting for their Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades -- with only a vague promise and not so much as an estimated window of arrival. And Samsung, keeping with its usual habit, is devoting far more time to pushing out product after near-identical product than to actually maintaining and supporting the devices it sells.

If Samsung wanted a $250 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet that looked and acted like the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, why didn't it just -- oh, I don't know -- upgrade the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus to Android 4.0 and drop its price by a hundred bucks?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Samsung's energy would be far better spent focusing on its existing products than flooding the market with an ever-expanding array of barely-tweaked variations. The company is great at launching products but not so good at supporting them.

Android Power Twitter

With each passing quarter, I keep hoping Samsung will scale back its ADHD-like release cycle and start doing what's best for its customers instead. The launch of the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is the perfect example of why that's important -- and how far Samsung is from achieving it.

For much more on the new Galaxy Tab -- including my hands-on impressions of the device's hardware and TouchWizified software -- click over to my in-depth review:

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) review: A nice price, but where's the 'wow'?

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

Article copyright 2012 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon