The tablet market is in something of a state of flux at the moment. After years of boom, smartphone based tablets like the iPad and Android offerings are in full scale retreat. At the same time, Windows, previously on death row as the prospect of iOS and Android and the paradigm shift they promised, is now the growth area and OEMs, consumers and enterprises just can't get enough of them.
Right now the Microsoft Surface has become the thing to have if you're projecting an image of success, corporate tech-savviness and having your finger on the pulse.
Into to this changing marketplace Samsung has released its new 2017 tablet range and signaled it can see the way the wind is blowing. Last year its flagship tablets consisted of two Android powered Tab S2s and a single TabPro S running Windows 10.
In 2017 that ratio has flipped. Just one Tab S3 - the larger 9.7" version and two new Galaxy Books, in 10" and 12" varieties.
All three tablets come with keyboard covers and S-Pens. The Galaxy Book gets a new version of the keyboard cover that was the weakest point on the TabPro S. It gains an extra position, which is better but still not close to the flexibility of the Surface Pro 4.
The S-Pen is an interesting choice. It has no battery and appears to be a refinement of the EMR technology previously used on the Note series of phones and tablets, although this time Staedtler has replaced Wacom as the provider. The addition of tilt functions to the tip mimic Apple's Pencil and add new capability to both Windows and Android devices.
In fact the Tab S3 could have been badged as the Note and no one would have blinked an eyelid. It has picked up most of the features that made the Note 7 so great.
The two Galaxy Books are separated by more than just screen size. The smaller puts portabilty and longevity to the fore by packing a Intel Core m3 CPU, whilst the larger looks to confront the Surface Pro with a Core i5 CPU. Either machine will be available with LTE if that's a requirement for you.
The upshot of all this reshuffling of the tablet deck is a Samsung range with a clear focus on the future market. One flagship Android device, with the full gamut of capability from previous Galaxy flagships. Other devices at lower price points to soak up the remaining demand for consumer Android tablets. And a full scale switch to Windows 10 for higher end devices as the market continues to demand more Windows hybrid devices.
My only concern is that Samsung has misplayed its Galaxy Books, targeting the Surface Pro 4, when everyone knows that the Surface Pro 5 is just around the corner. Given the quality of desing and implementation of Microsoft's own tablets, Samsung may end up having to compete solely on price.