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Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy Tab has long been tied to carriers due to its integrated mobile broadband radio, but Samsung is finally introducing a device free from carrier contracts: the Android 2.2 tablet launches in a Wi-Fi model for $349 on April 10. Since carriers won’t likely sell this model, Samsung has partnered with online and retail outlets: Circuit City(s CCTYQ), Tiger Direct and CompUSA all currently appear as online sellers but I expect we’ll see more added to the list. Although the device loses its 3G connectivity, it gains in another area over 3G models as Samsung boosted the internal memory to 32 GB of storage, which can be supplemented with another 32 GB through a memory card.
Aside from the additional storage and lack of 3G connectivity, there’s not much new in Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. The tablet still uses a 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen, 3 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front camera, offers Adobe Flash (s adbe) support, and weighs just over 13 ounces. Samsung is touting the media ecosystem it has quietly been building for its Android (s goog) devices though: MediaHub is pre-installed on the device and offers access to television programming and movie rentals for rent or purchase. This same software will be present on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Player, meant to compete against Apple’s iPod touch(s aapl)device.
The obvious question for any prospective buyers is which makes more sense: buy a 7-inch Android tablet that doesn’t use the newer Honeycomb operating system (and may never see it); opt for a larger Honeycomb tablet such as the Motorola Xoom (s mmi) or one of Samsung’s larger upcoming tablets; or go the iPad route? That’s a personal choice of course, but I thoroughly enjoy the Tab I bought because I can use it in more places. It fits in a jacket pocket or back pants pocket; something I can’t say about the iPad. I eventually sold my original iPad for this reason. But I ended up supplementing the Tab with a new iPad 2 and found that depending on the task at hand and the location I was in, there’s room for both tablets in my house.
Now that the Galaxy Tab comes in a no-contract edition that’s cheaper since there’s no monthly data plan requirement, will any of you be joining me in the Tab experience?