AT&T will launch the Samsung Galaxy Tab on its network Nov. 21. The tablet PC will retail for $649.99 at AT&T stores and online on Samsung's Website. While some other U.S. carriers are selling the Galaxy Tab with a two-year contract, AT&T is offering two month-by-month plans.
Under those usage plans, Galaxy Tab owners can either pay $14.99, for 250MB, or $25.00, for 2GB of storage. AT&T's pay-as-you-go plan mirrors that of the Apple iPad, which currently dominates the consumer tablet market.
The 7-inch Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2, powered by Samsung's 1GHz Hummingbird processor. It supports Adobe Flash 10.1, and Samsung's Media Hub is meant to compete against Apple's iTunes in the multimedia-content department.
In addition to AT&T, other carriers offering the Galaxy Tab include T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Sprint and Verizon. T-Mobile launched the device Nov. 10, beating Verizon and Sprint to market by a matter of days. With that sort of coverage, Samsung predicts it will sell more than one million Galaxy Tabs by the end of the year and might expand its tablet offerings in future quarters.
Android-based tablets now hold around 2.9 percent of the worldwide tablet market, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, although the majority of those devices have yet to appear on the market. "We expect Android's share to rise in the fourth quarter as more models...enter the market,"reads a Nov. 2 report from the firm.
Should the 7-inch Galaxy Tab prove a success, Samsung could release a 10.1-inch version. A number of news outlets, including Wired, reported seeing a 10.1-inch LCD panel screen in Samsung's area at the FPD International Green Device 2010 trade show, in China. Of course, that sparked speculation that a larger version of the Tab is in the works.
"Various tablet sizes will be launched by many companies next year,"J.K. Shin, president of Samsung's mobile business, reportedly told an audience during a Nov. 4 press conference in Seoul. "In order to cement our strong presence in the tablet market, Samsung is preparing other kinds of tablet devices."
Despite some analysts' expectations of a burgeoning tablet market over the next few years, at least one thinks that short-term sales of the devices could be softer than expected.
"We do not see Tablets go[ing] the way of netbooks,"Ashok Kumar, an analyst with Rodman & Renshaw, wrote in a widely dispersed November research note to clients. "But if current trends continue, the Tablet market may not end [up] as much more than iPads or a tweener product between smartphones and next-generation thin-and-light notebooks a la MacBook Air." He also suggested that the Dell Streak and Galaxy Tab are experiencing low sell-through rates.