Sprint will begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, its first tablet with 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, on Nov. 11—the day its previously announced new tablet data plans will become available.
Sprint will sell the tablet, in its online and retail stores, for $549.99. Sprint's smartphone subscribers can connect the tablet to Sprint's 4G network for as low as $14.99 for 300MB of 3G/4G LTE data and up to $79.99 for 12GB of data.
According to Sprint, its new plans offer "20 percent more data for the same price at AT&T at the $14.99 and $50 tablet rate plan." Sprint offers 6GB for $50 while AT&T offers 5GB for that price.
That extra gigabyte, Sprint said in a Nov. 1 statement, is the equivalent of "50,000 emails, 2,000 Web page views or 3,333 more picture uploads."
Sprint also offers Sprint Mobile Broadband passes, which offer customers a way to connect their tablets when necessary and to bill the cost to a credit card.
“Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 brings Sprint 4G LTE to a new category of device and expands a portfolio already recognized as one of the industry’s best,” David Owens, Sprint's vice president of product development, said in the statement.
Sprint's LTE efforts have gotten off to a slow start. It was the first of the top-tier carriers to offer 4G, but via the less popular WiMax 4G technology. When it made the decision to roll out LTE alongside WiMax, it chose to partner with LightSquared—a fledgling venture that never opened its doors, after it failed to receive the approval of the Federal Communications Commission. Despite lots of adjustments, its transmitters were found to interfere with GPS signals, posing a hazard to airlines and other industries.
But now Sprint is on its way. As of July, it had rolled out LTE to 32 cities, and in the coming months, it plans to extend that to an additional 115.
The Tab 2 10.1 runs Android 4.0 and a 1.5GHz dual processor and features a 10.1-inch WXGA display with a resolution of 1280 by 800. It measures 10.2 by 6.9 by 0.38 inches, weighs 1.29 pounds, comes with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of ROM and has a microSD card slot capable of supporting a 64GB memory card.
The Tab can act as a mobile hotspot to up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices simultaneously, comes with face-recognition technology and ships with the expected Google services, including Gmail, Search, Maps, Calendar, Voice Actions and YouTube. There's a 3-megapixel camera on the back, a VGA camera up-front for video calls, and an Infrared Blaster, enabling the tablet to act as a giant universal remote control.
The Tab 2 10.1 will quickly be joined on Sprint's LTE network by the Apple iPad Mini and the fourth-generation iPad—Sprint's first Apple tablets. Apple introduced the tablets Oct. 23 and shared that the 4G versions will launch a "couple of weeks" after WiFi-only versions go on sale, Nov. 2.
Will Nov. 11 be the big day for Sprint's iPads, as well?