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14 Apr 12 Android this week: Galaxy Tab 2 launches; MotoActv wows; Amazon supports freemium;

Samsung hasn’t ceded the small slate market to either the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet just yet. Although these two 7-inch slates are gobbling up market share for low-cost tablets, Samsung launched its Galaxy Tab 2 this week. The $249 Wi-Fi tablet certainly has some better hardware over its competitors but the real question is: Can it provide the experience people are looking at this price?

That’s going to depend on exactly what experience consumers are looking for. With Android 4.0, dual-core processor, two cameras and integrated GPS, the Galaxy Tab 2 is a low-cost Android tablet with few limitations. It can run any third party app from Google Play, take and sync pictures or be used as a GPS navigation device. The Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are far more limited in what they can do out of the box but what they can do, they do very well.

Amazon did remove one limitation this week when it added support for in-app purchases. This could lead to a greater number of free third-party apps that make money through upgrades or additional content within the application. This “freemium” model has been supported by iOS and Android for some time and has begun to bring more money to developers over paid mobile apps. I also expect more Android developers to bring their apps into Amazon’s AppStore; good for Kindle Fire owners.

My latest Android gadget is similar to the Kindle Fire, in that you’d never know it actually runs on Android. I bought a MotoActv wearable device about a week ago, hoping to find a way to track my outdoor exercise without having to carry my smartphone and use its GPS. The MotoActv works quite well for this, but I also gained some unexpected benefits from my $199 purchase.

Because the MotoActv is crammed with sensors and radios — accelerometer, GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and FM radio — I’m actually wearing it from the time I wake until the time I sleep. The 1.6-inch device with capacitive touchscreen measures calories burned as well as steps taken, so I gain that health data.

It also has 8 GB of storage, so I’ve added several albums and use it to enjoy music as needed. And of course, when I run, I turn on the GPS radio and track my route, pace, and distance, plus my heart rate with an external heart rate monitor.

The MotoActv also works as a watch, complete with several difference faces to choose from. And when paired with a smartphone, it can receive notifications such as SMS messages, caller ID and calendar events. When the device launched last October, the notification feature was only supported on Motorola handsets. However, a software update earlier this month added support for all Android handsets.

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