Samsung is seemingly developing a new tablet in the Galaxy A series which is likely to launch in the United States via AT&T, as a new device identified by the model number SM-T387W was discovered recently by 91mobiles at the FCC. The model number strongly suggests that the tablet will be a direct sequel to the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2017) which was known as the SM-T380 and SM-T385 for the Wi-Fi-only and 4G LTE variants, respectively. Detailed hardware specifications haven’t been included but the FCC documents show a sketch of the tablet from the back, revealing a single camera unit positioned in the middle, a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack at the top, and a single speaker grille at the bottom. Unlike the 2017 model, the SM-T387W spotted at the FCC seems to be missing an LED flash near the main camera so there is a possibility that Samsung may have taken a few cost-cutting measures for its upcoming mid-range slate.
Background: Samsung is one of the most popular Android tablet manufacturers and for the past several years, the OEM’s portfolio was focused mainly on two series, namely the high-end Tab S lineups and the more budget-oriented Tab A products. This year, the OEM launched only one device in the latter series, specifically the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 which was introduced in August in two main variants including Wi-Fi-only and LTE-enabled. The OEM usually launches two new tablets as part of the same series but up until now the 2018 Galaxy Tab A product line saw only the aforementioned 10.5-inch model. But Samsung is seemingly likely to continue the trend established over the past few years and introduce a second variant featuring a smaller display, i.e., the SM-T387W spotted at the FCC. The sketch included in the documents indicates that the device is likely to retain a 16:10 image format and in turn, the display diagonal should clock in at around 8-inches. Whether the resolution will be increased from the previous model’s 1,280 by 800 pixel count remains to be seen. The FCC documents also reveal the type of connectivity which should be supported by the upcoming model, including WCDMA bands 2, 4, and 5, as well as LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 30, and 66. The listed LTE bands indicate that availability should expand across multiple regions including North America, Europe, and Asia, with LTE Band 7 in particular hinting at a possible release in Canada, while the inclusion of LTE Band 30 pretty much confirms Samsung’s intentions for launching the slate in the United States through AT&T. Likewise, LTE Band 66 suggests that the tablet should be compatible with other carriers in the United States.
Impact: According to a recent DigiTimes Research report, global shipments for Android tablets are in decline and this will continue to be the case next year. Samsung is nevertheless one of the bigger names in the Android tablet scene and it’s understandable why the OEM would want to maintain its top spot with newer releases. On the other hand, Samsung is also advancing its foldable smartphone technology and so far these types of devices have been designed in a way that allows them to be used as both phones and tablets. The Korean OEM intends to release its first foldable smartphone next year but given the premium price expected to be carried by this new form factor, it’s unlikely for Samsung to cannibalize its own affordable tablet series in the wake of foldable technology. At least not yet, and as long as there will be a huge price gap between foldable phones and Android tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2017) was released in the United States last year for around $230 and the SM-T387W should fit in the same price range, whereas foldable smartphones are likely to shoot well beyond the $1,000 mark.