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Samsung Takes on the iPad with 7-inch Galaxy Tab

At this week’s IFA trade show in Berlin, South Korean electronics giant Samsung took the wraps off the Galaxy Tab, its first entry into the consumer tablet market. With the Galaxy Tab, Samsung hopes to extend the success of its Galaxy S line of smartphones to the tablet arena, offering a powerful Android-based device with features designed to take on—and maybe even beat—the Apple iPad. And Samsung plans to launch the device in Europe this month, with launches in the United States, Asia, and Korea following in “coming months.”

“Samsung recognizes the tremendous growth potential in this newly created market and we believe that the Samsung Galaxy Tab brings a unique and open proposition to market,” said Samsung Electronics head of mobile communications J.K. Shin, in a statement. “The Samsung GALAXY Tab has been designed to enable consumers to maximize their online experience wherever that may be.”

The Galaxy Tab is a 7-inch tablet device with a 1,024 by 600-pixel display, running Android 2.2 “Froyo” and Adobe Flash Player 10.1—and the Galaxy Tab will also be DivX-certified, along with being able to handle a wide range of video formats like XviD, MPEG54, H.263, H.264, and more. Under the hood, the Galaxy Tab features a 1 GHz Cortex processor—not the same as the Hummingbird processor in the Galaxy S phones—along with 512 MB of RAM, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, plus a 3 megapixel front-facing camera along with a 1.3 megapixel user-facing camera for video chat—those last two points are big wins over the iPad, which doesn’t offer any camera at all. The Galaxy Tab packs 32 GB of flash storage and a microSD slot for up to 32 GB of additional removable storage.

The Galaxy Tab also features 3G connectivity: initial specs tout quad-band GDSM/EDGE and tri-band 900/1900/2100 7.2Mbps HSDPA. Early reports on the Galaxy Tab had the device coming to Verizon Wireless in the U.S. which—if true—would indicate Samsung is willing to put different 3G gear in the device for the carrier. The HSDPA specs also omit a band used by AT&T in the U.S., so the device might bear different 3G specs if it were to debut on AT&T.

Of course, as an Android device, the Galaxy Tab will be able to tap into the Android market for applications and games. The Galaxy Tab features a gyroscope and accelerometer for gaming.

Samsung has not announced pricing or any carrier partners for the device in the U.S. or in other markets.

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