Samsung Galaxy Tab is on sale from Verizon and T-Mobile, Sprint on Sunday
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After about seven months with the nascent tablet computer market largely to itself, Apple’s iPad has a new challenger arriving in stores Thursday: the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The much hyped Galaxy Tab is available from Verizon for $599.99. The mobile carrier is also offering optional 3G data plans for the Galaxy Tab starting at 1 gigabyte of data for $20 a month.
On Sunday, Sprint will start selling the Galaxy Tab, too, for $399.99. But Sprint is selling the tablet with mandatory 3G data plans starting at $29.99 a month for 2 gigabytes of data.
AT&T is supposed to start selling the Samsung tablet as well, but the carrier has yet to say when the device will arrive in its stores or pricing.
The Galaxy Tab’s $599.99 Verizon price-point comes in just $30 less that Apple’s starting price for its 3G iPad. Samsung’s new gadget is also smaller physically, with dimensions that make the Galaxy Tab feel very much like a thin paperback book in the hand.
The device, which runs on Google’s Android operating system designed for smart phones, features a 7-inch touch screen and a weight of just 0.84 of a pound. The 3G iPad has a 9.7-inch touch screen and weighs 1.6 pounds.
Samsung’s new tablet also features a front-facing camera, which can be used for video chatting, and a camera and flash on the back for shooting photos and video. The iPad has no cameras.
Samsung said it will offer a Wi-Fi only version of the Galaxy Tab, but hasn’t said when such an option, which will likely be priced less than the current Wi-Fi and 3G capable model, will arrive in stores.
The Galaxy Tab’s arrival is just the beginning of increased competition in the tablet market. The BlackBerry Playbook will arrive next year for less than $500 and Hewlett-Packard will release its HP Slate running a tablet modified version of Palm’s WebOS operating system.
The appetite for tablet computers seems to be real. Apple said it has sold 7.5 million iPads since April.
[Updated 2:49 p.m. Nov. 5] The Galaxy Tab arrived in T-Mobile stores on Wednesday, selling for $399.99, after a $50 mail-in rebate. T-Mobile is selling the Galaxy Tab for $399.99 online with the $50 already knocked off, allowing consumers to skip the rebate process. Both in-store and online $399.99 price points through the carrier require a 2-year data plan, which start at about $30 a month.
T-Mobile is also selling the Galaxy Tab for $599.99 without a data plan and the company is allows Galaxy Tab owners to use their tablets as Wi-Fi hot spots at no extra charge. Sprint charges $30 per month for the ability to use the Galaxy Tab as a Wi-Fi hot spot.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles