Samsung said it will begin selling a WiFi-only version of its Galaxy Tab 7.0 April 10 for $349, or a couple hundred dollars less than what U.S. carriers began selling the Android tablet computer for on contract.
Samsung currently lists CompUSA as the only brick-and-mortar retailer slated to begin selling the Tab next week, with online stores for CompUSA, TigerDirect and Circuit City offering the tablet for pre-order. Other retailers will begin carrying the WiFi Tab later, Samsung claimed.
Samsung launched the 7-inch tablet with a 1024-by-600 resolution display in conjunction with carriers last fall. The gadget, which supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for multimedia consumption, has a rear-facing 3-megapixel camera and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera and camcorder to enable video chat.
Weak sell-through and more tablet choices prompted carriers to cut their prices for the device a couple of times. Verizon and Sprint both slashed their Tab price point to $199.99 with a two-year deal April 6.
There are a few reasons for the weak demand and resulting price cuts. For one, Apple's iPad remained a hot seller throughout the holiday season.
Also, the Galaxy Tab is speedy and crisp-performing, but it runs Android 2.2, an OS that isn't optimized for tablets. To wit, some applications don't play well on the machine.
Then, tablet evolution struck. Not long after the Tab hit the market, rumors of Android 3.0 "Honeycomb," a more powerful, tablet-tailored Android OS emerged.
Verizon and Best Buy are selling the Motorola Xoom Honeycomb 3G and WiFi tablets. Rumor has it that only 100,000 Xooms have shipped, but Honeycomb machines from Samsung, Toshiba, LG and others are on their way.
Then, there is the Apple iPad 2, Research in Motion PlayBook and HP TouchPad to contend with. Clearly, carriers want to make room for them by selling Tab 7.0 devices at a major markdown.
In view of all of these market developments, offering a WiFi-only Galaxy Tab 7.0, which many consumers asked for last year, seems quite tardy, even if it costs $150 less than the WiFi-only iPad 2.
It's possible those looking for a cheap, high-quality tablet would be interested in the new Tab offering.