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As tablet computers edge into the low-cost netbook market, Samsung announced
the Galaxy Tab tablet computer, slotting neatly in size between Apple’s iPad
and the company’s popular iPhone smartphone.

Powered by the Android Operating System 2.2, the Galaxy Tab is the first of
the company’s tablet devices, representing a new category of mobile products
for Samsung. The tablet’s price has not yet been announced.

A 7-inch display allows users to communicate via e-mail, voice and video call,
SMS/MMS, or social networks like Facebook
and Twitter. Supporting the latest Adobe Flash Player 10.1, the tablet also
features a "Readers Hub," Samsung’s e-reading application, as well as
a media application, a gateway to films and videos, and a digital music
application. With 3G HSUPA connectivity, 802.11n WiFi, and Bluetooth 3.0, the
tablet is powered by a Cortex A8 1.0GHz application processor, and HD video
content is supported by a range of multimedia formats (DivX, XviD, MPEG4,
H.263, H.264 and others).

While a front-facing camera allows for face-to-face video telephony over 3G, a
rear-facing camera captures still images and video that users can edit, upload
and share. Services like Google Maps Navigation (beta) and Google Goggles are
available on Google’s Android platform. With location-based services like
Google Maps, users can search in Standard English instead of entering an exact
address. A search-by-voice function is also included.

Other features include microSD expansion for up to 32GB of additional storage,
a 30-pin dock connector on the bottom that allows for HDMI, USB
and docking accessories, and 16GB or 32GB internal storage. Samsung plans to
launch the Galaxy Tab in Europe first and then the United
States, though there is no official stateside launch date yet. Also unconfirmed
is the possibility of a CDMA version for U.S.
carriers. The Galaxy Tab will be launched in the U.K.
in the coming months, according to a company release.

"Samsung recognizes the tremendous growth potential in this newly created
market, and we believe that the Galaxy Tab brings a unique and open proposition
to market. There is a new and emerging consumer demand that Samsung can satisfy,
since mobile is in our DNA. This demand
continues to grow and develop as users tap its limitless potential," said
Simon Stanford, head of mobile for Samsung UK
and Ireland.
"The Galaxy Tab has been designed to enable consumers to maximize their
online experience wherever that may be. Samsung believes this is only the
beginning of its innovations as pioneers in smart media devices."

While the current hype is focused on Samsung, some reports suggest the iPad
will still dominate the tablet market into 2012. An August report from IT
research firm iSuppli predicted that although the iPad will face competition
from HP, Lenovo, RIM, Google and others, the tablet won’t face a "viable
competitor" until 2011. The firm said Apple’s complete integration of
hardware, software, operating system and applications is a major piece of what
makes the device a standout.