Samsung has finally announced official U.S. availability dates for its Honeycomb-toting Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet: the device will go on sale June 8 exclusively at Best Buy’s Union Square location in New York City, with nationwide availability to follow at a broad selection of retailers on June 17. The tablets will sport Android 3.1 “Honeycomb” and Wi-Fi connectivity; a 16 GB version will be available for $499, while a 32 GB version will run $599.
Customers who aren’t in New York will be able to place pre-orders for the device online or at other Best Buy locations beginning June 8.
“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,” said Samsung Mobile president and CEO Dale Sohn, in a statement. “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.”
Samsung claims the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the “thinnest mobile tablet currently available in the world,” with a total depth of just 8.6 millimeters. The tablet sports a 10.1-inch 1,280 by 800-pixel display, 1 GHz Nvidia Tegra dual-core processor, Wi-Fi connectivity (sorry, no 3G or 4G options available), and up to 9 hours of battery life. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 also sports a three megapixel rear camera for photos or video, and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video chat.
Sprint will also be offering the Wi-Fi version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 starting “mid-summer.”
One of Samsung main touts for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is that the company plans to improve it through future software upgrades—and interesting admission since many Android tablets to date have been criticized for being half-baked compared to the market-leading Apple iPad. In addition to Google’s tablet-optimized Android Honeycomb experience, Samsung plans to layer on its own TouchWiz UX, offering home screen customization and a “mini apps” tray of commonly used features (you know, like a task manager) that can be pulled up while other apps are running. Samsung also plans to enable the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to tap into a revamped version of Samsung’s own Media Hub movie and TV service, along with the ability to push high-def content to HDMI big screens using a dock or an adapter. Samsung will also roll out for its own Social Hub (aggregating social media, calendar, contacts, IM, and more) and Readers Hub (an ebook service with more than 2.2 million titles). Samsung also plans to roll out DLNA media sharing support and features for enterprise-level device management and VPNs.