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6/2/2011
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Samsung 4G Tablet Matches Apple iPad Prices

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be among the first tablets to feature Android 3.1 Honeycomb software when it goes on sale.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Slideshow: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The Wi-Fi version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will first be available for purchase exclusively at the Best Buy Union Square store in New York City starting on June 8. Samsung indicated that a limited quantity of tablets would be at the NYC Best Buy store on the 8th. Starting June 17, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be more widely available at Best Buy both online and in-store, along with Fry's Electronics, Amazon.com, Micro Center, Tiger Direct, and Newegg.

The Wi-Fi version comes in two flavors: 16 GB and 32 GB. The 16-GB variant will cost $499 and the 32-GB variant will cost $599--the exact same prices charged for similarly equipped Apple iPad 2s.

Verizon Wireless will offer two 4G LTE-enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 models, both priced with two-year customer agreements. The 16-GB LTE model will cost $529.99 and the 32-GB LTE model will cost $629.99. Those are the same prices that Apple charges for the 3G-equipped versions of the iPad 2, though the 3G iPads don't require two-year contracts.

Further, the Verizon version will come in two colors, white or gray. Customers will be able to pre-order the device online starting June 8. Verizon didn't say exactly when the LTE version would hit store shelves though. It only committed to "the coming weeks." It will be accompanied by an array of optional accessories, however, such as a full-sized keyboard dock and a multi-media docking station.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be one of the first tablets to ship with Android 3.1 Honeycomb on board. This updated version of Honeycomb smoothes out application transitions, refreshes home screen navigation, and adds support for a wide range of USB devices, such as cameras, keyboards, and gaming controllers.

Aside from Android 3.1, what sets the Galaxy Tab 10.1 apart is that Samsung will provide a significant user interface update in the coming weeks. The update will include Samsung's new tablet version of TouchWiz, which adds a "Mini Apps" tray of commonly used features such as the task manager, calendar, and music player. These mini apps can be launched while other apps are being used.

It also will add Samsung's Social Hub, Readers Hub, and Media Hub. These hubs will bring a wide range of new media powers to the tablet. For example, the Media Hub will allow users to search for and download content such as music, movies, and television shows. The Readers Hub is for the bookworm, and the Social Hub helps tie together the various social networks and means of communication that might otherwise clutter up inboxes.

Most importantly for potential enterprise users, the update will add a number of new security features to make the Galaxy Tab 10.1 more business-friendly. These include on-device encryption of user data, Exchange ActiveSync support (with added security protocols), Cicso AnyConnect SSL VPN, as well as F5 SSL VPN.

"Ensuring that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 launched with Android 3.1 Honeycomb was part of our constant commitment to meeting the needs of our customers," Dale Sohn, President and CEO of Samsung Mobile, said in a statement. "The Galaxy Tab 10.1's ultra-thin design and 10-inch touchscreen are impressive differentiators in the tablet market place. We're going to make the Galaxy Tab 10.1 even more powerful, entertaining, and secure through a series of upgrades coming to this device."

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