by Noah Kravitz

Samsung threw a subdued “Unpacked” event last night at Barcelona’s Palau St Jordi to unveil the Tegra 2-powered Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer. For most companies, an hour-long stage show involving live speakers synced with a multimedia presentation running on a 100 foot by 20 foot display wouldn’t be considered subdued. And a live performance by a strings and computer tablets orchestra definitely wouldn’t make for a “subdued” press conference. But for Samsung? This year’s show wasn’t quite as crazy as last year’s aerial acrobatic extravaganza.

Lack of flying dancers aside, the show wasn’t at all disappointing. And, hey, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 literally emerged amidst a cloud of smoke that covered the stage. Samsung launched didn’t disappoint, either. Galaxy Tab 10.1 builds on the original Tab in every possible way, from display size to operating system to, most importantly, the power of the processors inside. Between the world’s first mobile dual-core ARM CPU and an NVIDIA GeForce GPU in Tegra 2, the Tab 10.1 is ready for anything you want it to do, from faster Web browsing to full 1080p video and Flash-based content to the operating system itself. Google’s Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” is the first tablet-optimized version of Android, and it’s also the first GPU-accelerated user interface designed for tablets and other devices.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 powered by Tegra 2, on Flickr

I got some hands-on time with a Tab at the event, and it’s a nice device. Samsung did a good job balancing the benefits of the large 10.1″ display with the potential ergonomic drawbacks of such a large handheld product. Thin and light for its size, the Tab 10.1 feels well-made, and the backside is textured and contoured to make it easier to hold, grip, and balance during one- or two-handed use. Some silver accents set off the black design in a geek chic kind of way, too.

As you might guess, Samsung’s excited about their new Tegra 2-powered beast.

Don’t count me out of the pry; I’m psyched on the Tab 10.1, too. Why? Front-facing, video chat-ready 2MP camera, for one. 8MP rear camera with full 1080p HD video recording, for another. Add a massive battery to power it all, and a thin, light form factor, and Samsung’s got one heck of a tablet on their hands. With Tegra 2 to make it go. Ain’t nothing subdued about that.