24 Comments

Summary:

Samsung has officially announced that its iPad competitor, the Galaxy Tab, will be coming soon to all four major carriers in the U.S. Hitting all four carriers is a continuation of the strategy that Samsung employed with the Galaxy S handsets, but lacking 4G.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Samsung has officially announced that its iPad competitor, the Galaxy Tab, will be coming soon to all four of the major carriers in the U.S. Hitting all four carriers is a continuation of the strategy that Samsung employed with its Galaxy S phones, with a notable exception. Neither the Sprint model nor the T-Mobile model will incorporate those networks’ fastest network technologies. Missing are 4G/WiMAX (Sprint) and HSPA+ (T-Mobile), which would have been a golden opportunity for the Galaxy Tab to pass the popular iPad.

The Galaxy Tab should be the same model on all of the carriers, with carrier software customizations the primary difference. It’s a thin slate device with a 7-inch display (1024×600), 1 GHz processor, two cameras and GPS. The company hasn’t detailed pricing for the Tab, but each carrier will likely offer a subsidized price model with a two-year data contract. The Tab cannot make phone calls, so only a data plan will be required to have 3G connectivity on the go. The pricing for this plan will be determined by each carrier, which better compete with that of the iPad on AT&T. The monthly cost of this plan, along with the data cap (if any), will directly impact carrier sales of the Galaxy Tab, as will the subsidized purchase price.

A Wi-Fi only version of the Tab will be sold through select retailers around the time the carrier models are released. This model will not require a data plan, as it lacks 3G connectivity, and is aimed at those wishing to avoid a data contract. It won’t be price-subsidized, and will possibly be expensive at full price. The Galaxy Tab is much smaller than the iPad, so logic would dictate it should be cheaper than the Apple tablet.

Samsung is touting the front-facing camera for use with the Qik app for video calling; video calling will be restricted to Wi-Fi only, as is the case with Apple’s FaceTime on the iPhone. The iPad lacks a camera, so the Galaxy Tab goes one-up on the iPad by including one. Taking a page from Apple, Samsung will offer a keyboard dock for the Tab that makes it easier to create content; no pricing for the dock has been made available.

The Galaxy Tab looks to be a well-designed product that will set the bar for the Android tablet segment. It’s the first true competitor to the iPad, and it will be interesting to see consumer reaction to the Tab. Samsung missed an excellent opportunity to pass the iPad by not including 4G in the Tab. Perhaps this was due to carrier pressure to keep all four models similar in capability.

Related GigaOM Pro Research (sub req’d): To Ship or Not to Ship — Product Launch in the Smartphone Era

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  1. Does anyone know what kind of screen the Galaxy Tab uses, just because the unit is smaller doesn’t mean it will be cheaper. Although, it has to be, if it wants to have even the smallest chance of competing with the apple iPad. I actually have my eye on the new archos tablets, which look quite promising.

    The problem I see with these tablets is that they don’t include the android marketplace due to googles restrictions. That is a major hindrance, and will only fragment the android tablet market more than the android smartphone market.

    1. The Tab has the Android Market on it according to hands-on reports at the press event.

      1. oh, so it does have android market. I assumed it wouldnt due to google restrictions. well, this is good news for all sorts of companies who have or are going to get into the Android tablet game. Hopefully google allows archos, velocity micro, notion, and others to add the android market too.

        pretty soon the tablet market will become saturated with products, just like the netbook market before it. I just hope this time the companies innovate, and introduce new features.

  2. No voice, no 4g, another 2 year contract = no buy.
    It’s as simple as that. Give me what I wanted: a 100% replacement for my phone. Hopefully someone fills that gap with better specs and a 7″ screen with android market. As soon as that happens I know where I’ll be spending my hard earned money, because I know right now Samsung isn’t getting one cent. Samsung, I feel lied to and betrayed by you, and I will make it my goal to let everyone I know how I feel and suggest to them not to buy any Samsung products period.

  3. @george

    I will with you 100%. I have over 100 clients who have been waiting for such a device. I have spent a lot of time and effort selling them on this product based on the UK specs, meaning has a phone. This was my bad for not predicting that the US carriers would screw this up, but I am still not happy.

    I will say this, I think you anger with Samsung in misplaced. It was the carriers who got together and all decided not to support the phone functionality, not Samsung.

    I assume we will be able to use Skype on the phone, although I have not interest in yet another phone number. If only Google would allow is to use Google Voice as a true VOIP service on Android. (I know you can make call from Gmail, but that does not work on Android due to the browser plugin.)

    1. Got proof on that carrier collusion claim? Otherwise, I’m just going to take that as made up and just something you think is happening.

  4. Yet another misleading article by Gigaom.

    “Sans high speed”? It’s supports 3G. Somehow I doubt pro-Apple gigaom would characterize ipad as missing high speed.

    “The Galaxy Tab is much smaller than the iPad, so logic would dictate it should be cheaper than the Apple tablet.”

    Your logic would be wrong. G-Tab has several attractive features such as SD slot, front and back cameras and significantly faster processor. Screen is only 2.7″ smaller but it has higher pixel density to make up for it — Its panel can display almost as much content as ipad. If you’d go with the component costs alone, G-Tab is probably just as expensive as ipad, if not more.

    1. I don’t think James is “pro-Apple” as a brand. Sure he uses Apple but does so because he finds their products to be good rather than some corporate affiliation. I don’t think James’ journalistic integrity should be questioned like this.

      Looking at prices in the UK I see that the Tab is pricing out a good £150 – £200 more expensive than an iPad.

      I would accept and contemplate the Tab at rough parity in price with the iPad, like the Dell Streak, but the price differential is too much. My guess is that it’s priced to be sold on contract by carriers and that the carrier subsidised price may be more attractive.

      But I’d still prefer to import an iPad from the US and stuff both Apple and Samsung’s UK pricing.

    2. what an ignorant statement… please take those kinds of comments elsewhere.

    3. Well, at spots that AT&T doesn’t suck I can get HSPA+ and have seen 4 to 5MBps on my iPad. If it’s getting CDMA or standard HSDPA than my iPad will still be faster than the G-Tab. I disagree with James statement though, if the G-Tab had HSPA+ it would simply have parity with the iPad in the realm of connectivity. The question is will the G-Tab be able to go 11 hours on a charge. Probably another reason why they didn’t push for 4G.

  5. No calling and no HSPA+ mean no sale from this T-Mobile customer.

  6. No voice and another monthly fee add up to no sale. I’m dropping monthly fees, not adding new ones.

    1. no sale for me either. no more fees. which carrier is going to be smart enough to charge one fee for all cellular access?

  7. what will the battery life be like?

    there is probably no 4g because of the battery life and the shallow coverage.

    at&t has hspa+ in a very narrow spots
    both tmobile have giant dead zones. while Sprint has decent coverage in the cities that are lit the 4g radio kills the battery pretty quickly in my evo

  8. I’d have to say the eLocity N7 up for pre-order on Amazon seems to have the Galaxy Tab beat.

    I’m thinking Samsung made a strange choice with the 1024×600 screen. Personally I’d rather have the black bars on a 1024×768 screen when playing 16:9 video and thus have the pixels there when running the Kindle app…

  9. I thought the Samsung Tablet could call via Blue Tooth? Or is that only in Europe and Asia?

    1. Information from Samsung indicates the US versions will not do voice calls.

      1. If that is the case, it sounds like it is a condition imposed by the extraordinarily dominant Big-4 wireless carriers in the United States.

  10. Jeffrey McManus Sunday, September 19, 2010

    4G will not be a key differentiator for tablet devices (or phones, for that matter) for several years. 4G doesn’t even exist in most major U.S. metros yet, but even if it did, it’s not something that’s necessary for most tablet use cases (reading and games). Note that the latest Kindle (which is a huge hit from what I’ve been hearing) only has wi-fi — they took out whispernet from that device altogether because they found that many users didn’t need it.

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