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(Reuters) – Samsung Electronics said it plans to sell its Galaxy Tab tablet computer in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Italy this year, taking aim at frontrunner Apple in the new but already congested segment.

Although it will also compete with a bevy of devices from the likes of Dell and HP, the Galaxy Tab, unveiled last month, has been described by some analysts as the most credible rival to Apple’s iPad.

It is smaller than the iPad and Samsung has forged partnerships with the top four U.S. mobile carriers and with media companies which are providing programing for its Media Hub service, they say.

The device, based on Google’s Android platform, has a 7-inch screen, smaller than the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen, but in at least one market — Finland — it will be priced much higher than the iPad.

The Galaxy Tab will go on sale in Italy in October, in South Korea in October or November, and in the United States and Japan in November. Samsung aims to sell 1 million units this year.

In Japan, NTT DoCoMo Inc will start also selling the Galaxy S smartphone in late October, with Samsung hoping to win over Japanese consumers that have warmed to foreign devices thanks to the iPhone and iPad.

DoCoMo’s shares rose 3.4 percent to 141,900 yen, climbing with rival KDDI which ended up 5.4 percent at 410,000 yen on its plans announced Monday to launch Japan’s first smartphone that can also be used as an electronic wallet. The broader market rose 1.5 percent.

Foreign mobile phone makers have long struggled to crack the uniquely developed Japanese market, and even Nokia, the world’s biggest handset manufacturer, has been forced to retreat from the market in the past.

But Barclays Capital analyst Tetsuro Tsusaka said he expects Samsung to fare well this time.

"Things are different nowadays. The kind of products consumers want now are different from the products that existed when foreign makers were struggling to sell their phones here," he said.

(Reporting by Sachi Izumi; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)