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Android This Week: Galaxy Tab Hits U.S.; VCAST Store Coming

Samsung announced the iPad competing Galaxy Tab this week, and is repeating the successful Android (s goog) smartphone strategy by launching the tablet on all four U.S. carriers at once. The Tab is a 7-inch touch tablet running Android 2.2 with software optimizations fitting for the form. Samsung omitted the highest speed network options — 4G/WiMAX and HSPA+ — instead, sticking with 3G for the Galaxy Tab. This may have been done to prevent any one carrier’s model having a technical advantage over the others. The U.S. version of the Galaxy Tab is data-only, as no voice options are available, unlike the European version.

Another tablet in the news this week was the WeTab, appearing at the Intel Developer’s Forum in San Francisco. The WeTab is a big (11.6-inch) tablet running the MeeGo OS, a new platform that’s a venture between Intel (s intc) and Nokia (s nok). This tablet is reported to run Android apps, although it’s not clear if it runs the full Android OS in a virtual machine or runs the apps in some other fashion. This is the first non-Android device that can run Android in any form. The WeTab will be released next week.

Industry watchers were surprised at word that Verizon (s vz) was going to open its own Android store on handsets it sells. We weren’t surprised, as we reported over a year ago that the carrier was going to open a VCAST store to sell Android apps on its phones. The store will sell Verizon’s own apps, along with other apps it wishes to promote for its Android phone line. The traditional Android Market will not be installed on Verizon phones, but the carrier will not prevent customers from adding it to access the standard app store.

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

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