Summary:

Verizon’s newest Android tablet arrives in stores this week and supports the operator’s 4G network. But wait, haven’t we heard that before? The Motorola Xoom is still waiting for its upgrade to use Verizon’s LTE network, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is ready to roll.

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Verizon is launching an LTE-enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Honeycomb tablet on July 28, available in two configurations. The 16 GB model will cost $529.99, and a 32 GB version adds $100 to that. Both models are priced with a two-year contract; customers can choose one of Verizon’s mobile broadband data plans that offer a set amount of 4G data, ranging from 2 GB ($30) to 10 GB ($80) in a month. A 16 GB Wi-Fi-only version of the Tab will also be sold by Verizon for $499.99 on the same day.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab may offer the best challenge to Apple’s iPad in terms of build quality, weight, thickness and aesthetics, although some may not like the plastic back cover. In terms of hardware specs, there’s also a lot to like: 1 GHz dual-core Tegra 2(nvda) processor, 1280×800 display, two cameras and an LED flash, for example. Adding in the LTE radio brings a more mobile experience to the Android device while also putting more customers on Verizon’s shiny new 4G network. Adding these customers will help the carrier begin recouping its large infrastructure investment.

But this product launch has to be a virtual slap in the face for customers that bought a Motorola Xoom. When the Honeycomb tablet was introduced at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, support for Verizon’s new LTE network was touted as a selling point. But when the Xoom actually launched in February, it didn’t come with LTE; instead, it came with news of a 4G hardware upgrade “soon after launch.” It’s now five months later and the Xoom still doesn’t support LTE, leaving many Xoom owners with Verizon’s slower 3G network and, so far, an empty promise of faster future speeds.

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