Samsung unveils GalaxyTab Android tablet

Samsung officially took the wraps off its Android-powered GalaxyTab tablet device, positioning it as a rival to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. 

Click here for Galaxy Tab videos, pictures and specs.Samsung made the announcement ahead of the IFA consumer electronics conference in Berlin, a little more than a week after teasing the tablet in a highly polished video. As expected, the 7-inch tablet runs version 2.2 of Google's Android platform and has a Cortex A8 1 GHz processor, a 3-megapixel camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting, access to the Android Market, support for Adobe Flash 10.1 and WiFi.

Interestingly, Samsung also is positioning the tablet as a voice communication device. The gadget can serve as a speaker phone, and users can connect to it via a Bluetooth headset. The tablet supports HSUPA 5.76 Mbps and HSDPA 7.2 Mbps in the 900/1900/2100 MHz bands.

Samsung also is touting a media distribution service for the gadget that will offer content through "hubs." The hubs, which are Samsung's answer to Apple's iTunes, will allow users to rent movies and TV shows for $3 per day and buy them for between $12 and $20. Digital books also will be available.

Samsung did not give a price for the tablet, but a Samsung product executive, Hankil Yoon, told the Wall Street Journal that the GalaxyTab likely will retail for between $200 and $300, although that will vary depending on carrier subsidies. Additionally, the company said the tablet will be available in Europe in mid-September, and in other markets including South Korea, the U.S. and Asia in coming months. Samsung did not say which U.S. carrier might carry the device.

According to the blog IntoMobile, J.K. Shin, the president of Samsung's mobile communications business, told reporters in Berlin that Samsung will be releasing more Android tablets next year, including ones running on Android 3.5. Samsung also confirmed that the GalaxyTab will be upgraded to Android 3.0 in the future.

And where would a major press unveiling be without some chest-puffing? "Honestly, I don't see anything [about the Galaxy Tab] that is weaker than the iPad," W.P. Wong, the head of Samsung Mobile's product planning team, said in Berlin, according to CNet. Apple sold 3.27 million iPads during its most recent quarter.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Engadget post
- see this Reuters article
- see this IntoMobile post
- see this CNet article
- see this PCMag.com article
- see this release
- see these videos, pictures and specs

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