Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Tab devices are another sign that competitors to Apple’s iPad have learned from Motorola’s mistakes in rolling out its Android tablet, but it’s going to be months before we know if consumers will respond.
Two new Android Honeycomb-based tablets were shown off in a packed press conference at CTIA, the Galaxy 8.9 and the Galaxy 10.1. Both are references to the size of their respective screens, and Samsung chose to be very competitive on price with this latest generation of Galaxy Tabs.
A Wi-Fi-only version of the Tab 10.1 will cost $499 for a 16GB version and $599 for a 32GB version, the exact same pricing and configuration as Apple’s iPad 2, although Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) uses a 9.7-inch screen. And Samsung plans to undercut Apple with the Tab 8.9, coming in at $469 for a 16GB version and $569 for a 32GB version.
Motorola (NYSE: MMI) was roundly criticized for launching the Xoom tablet at $799. Even though an argument could be made that the Xoom was price-competitive against the higher-end versions of the iPad, which can cost as much as $829, the lack of a lower-priced entry point was seen as a drawback. Motorola eventually released a $599 Wi-Fi only version of the Xoom, but it doesn’t appear to have made a dent in demand for the iPad 2.
Likewise, it’s going to take some time before we’ll know if Samsung’s pricing strategy can slow down the iPad train, since the Tab 10.1 won’t be available until June 8th, and the Tab 8.9 was only given an “early summer” release target. Information on retail channels–key to promoting tablets for Apple competitors like Samsung that don’t have their own retail stores–was also not disclosed.
Earlier in the day Research in Motion (NSDQ: RIMM) also showed that it had gotten the memo on tablet pricing, announcing that its Playbook tablet would ship on April 19th at Best Buy for $499 for a Wi-Fi only version. The other company planning a tablet launch this summer–HP–has yet to reveal anything about pricing, availability, or distribution strategy for its TouchPad tablet.