Samsung Galaxy Tab Pricing Raises Tablet Strategy Questions

Samsung Galaxy Tab, the company's Apple iPad competitor, could be priced anywhere from $200 to more than $1,000, according to leaks. That raises questions about Samsung's tablet strategy.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab, one of the first Android-powered tablets to challenge the Apple iPad, will be priced at $200. Or it could be $400. Or even a cool $1,000, if you choose to buy the carrier-unlocked version.

In other words, pricing information for the device has begun to leak online-much of it contradictory. The Wall Street Journal, for example, paraphrased Samsung executive Hankil Yoon as saying the Galaxy Tab would "likely" retail between $200 and $300 in the United States, after carriers' contract-related subsidies. But the German version of currently lists the Galaxy Tab for 799 euro, or roughly $1,000, which is decidedly more expensive than most versions of the iPad.

A German-language Twitter feed for European carrier O2 suggested that 799-euro price-point-instead of being an up-front cost-would consist of a 99-euro deposit followed by a 27.50-euro monthly payment.

Just to make things a little more interesting, tech blog Engadget linked Sept. 2 to the British shopping Website Expansys, which lists the Galaxy Tab at a wallet-busting 679.99 pounds sterling, or $1,040.99.

Unveiled Sept. 2 at the IFA 2010 consumer electronics show in Berlin, the Galaxy Tab features a TFT-LCD 7-inch screen and a Cortex A8 1GHz processor, paired with Google Android 2.2. The device will be launched across Europe in mid-September, according to reports, with a U.S. unveiling rumored for Sept. 16 in New York City.

The Galaxy Tab will come standard with 16GB of internal memory, scalable to 32GB of external memory. That contrasts with the iPad, which offers 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions. Both Samsung and Apple support WiFi and 3G connectivity, with AT&T providing the latter for the iPad. Blogs such as Boy Genius Report have suggested that Verizon will be the U.S. carrier for the Galaxy Tab.

The question remains whether the U.S. pricing for the device will follow European trends or try to undercut the iPad's price. Samsung could also conceivably offer a more expensive unlocked Galaxy Tab, in addition to a cheaper carrier-subsidized device.

The other Android-based competitor in the space, the Dell Streak, sells for $299 with a two-year AT&T contract, and $549.99 unlocked. Other manufacturers are also reportedly preparing their own tablets, including Hewlett-Packard with a Palm WebOS device and Research In Motion with a BlackBerry-based one. Microsoft has been very public with its intentions to port Windows 7 onto tablets within the next few quarters.

Samsung's U.S. price point for the Galaxy Tab may prove the deciding factor in how it fares against not only the iPad, but those upcoming tablets.