Samsung’s newest batch of Galaxy devices went on sale last week, and while most coverage focused on the S22 smartphone family, Samsung also has new flagship tablets. For years, Android tablets have been afterthoughts even for Google, which confirmed it was stepping away from tablet hardware after the Pixel Slate debacle. Yet, evidence is mounting that Android tablets are having a moment. The latest sign comes from Samsung, which says it is struggling to keep several versions of its upcoming Tab S8 family available. These three very expensive tablets went on sale alongside the S22, and people may actually want to buy them this time.
Samsung sold the 2022 Tab S devices without incident until late last week when the Tab S8 and S8 Ultra were marked as “sold out.” That’s unusual for a device that hasn’t even officially launched yet. XDA reached out to Samsung and was told that “overwhelming demand in the last 48 hours’ forced it to pause pre-orders for some models.
As of now, you can order the Tab S8 and S8+, but the Tab S8 Ultra is still unavailable. That device clocks in at a whopping $1,100 with a 14.6-inch OLED screen. The $900 S8+ is smaller but still enormous with its 12.4-inch OLED. The smallest member of the Tab S8 family has an 11-inch LCD display and a lower $700 price tag. Samsung expects availability to continue fluctuating.
At first glance, there’s nothing revolutionary about these devices. They’re big Samsung tablets with the latest specs—par for the course with Samsung’s Tab S series. One element of the early sell-out might be that Samsung neglected to update its high-end tablets in 2021. The Tab S7 and S7+ launched in fall 2020 to largely mixed reviews. Still, anyone who wanted a flagship Samsung tablet has been waiting longer than usual. Google has also been focusing on Android’s tablet support again, promising numerous improvements in the upcoming Android 12L release. Plus, Samsung has beefed up its multi-window features in newer versions of Android to take advantage of big screens.
Samsung is playing up the “excitement” angle, but there’s an elephant in the room: the global chip shortage. Current estimates suggest there might not be enough silicon to go around for at least the remainder of 2022. The Tab S8 series runs on the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip as the Galaxy S22 phones, and you get one guess which one will move more units. Sure, there might be more demand for Android tablets this year, but Samsung probably just didn’t want to divert as many chips to tablets that will never come close to earning as much revenue as the Galaxy S22.