Network operator Verizon Wireless has begun taking pre-orders for the LTE-enabled version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, offering the 4G version of the device for $529. The 16GB or 32GB models are available for $529.99 and $629.99, respectively, although customers must agree to a two-year contract in order to get the tablets for those prices. The company originally listed the pre-order date as June 8, and the company's Web site notes consumers will still have to wait 4-6 weeks for delivery.
The tablet runs Google's Android 3.1 "Honeycomb" operating system, which includes expandable widgets, support for Google's USB host API and Open Accessory API, and other capabilities, and is available in metallic gray or glossy white. Verizon said the slate would hit its retail stores later this summer with optional accessories, such as a full-sized keyboard dock and a multimedia docking station. While Verizon is selling a 4G/3G Tab 10.1, rival company T-Mobile's Tab 10.1 is WiFi-only at this time and will cost customers $499 for the 16GB version and $599 for the 32GB version.
This summer, T-Mobile's Galaxy Tab 10.1 will receive an over-the-air upgrade to the Samsung TouchWiz UX. This user interface includes a Live Panel menu for customizing the home screen of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with digital pictures, favorite Websites and social-network feeds, and a mini applications tray of frequently used features such as task manager, calendar and music player.
The Galaxy Tab enters an increasingly crowded tablet market still dominated by Apple and its iPad device. In addition to the 800-pound gorilla in the room, more business-centric devices from Research in Motion and Panasonic are also hitting the market. RIM has priced the PlayBook at $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model and $699 for the 64GB version.
Recent research from industry analyst IDC recently predicted that worldwide media tablet shipments would grow from 7.6 million units in 2010 to more than 46 million units in 2014, representing a compound annual growth rate of 57.4 percent. In comparison, IDC expects 398 million portable PCs will be shipped in 2014.
A survey of small to medium size businesses (SMBs) found owners are accelerating the shift away from desktops and laptops and moving toward the latest technology and gadgets such as smartphones and tablets. When asked about iPads and applications, 9 percent responded that they have used an iPad, and 31 percent responded that they used applications for business. SMB owners have decreased their use of desktops, notebooks/netbooks and laptops from last year, the survey conducted by Portfolio.com found.
"It shouldn't be a shock to anyone that technology has dramatically changed the way entrepreneurs and company owners do business," said J. Jennings Moss, Portfolio's editor. "What is a surprise is how quickly some tools we thought were indispensable, like laptops, are being cast aside for mobile devices and tablets."