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Samsung hast just announced its carrier partners for the Galaxy tablet. It is now clear that the Galaxy is not an experiment. It is positioned to scale with the market and outrun Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) with sheer market volume and aggressive pricing.
Yesterday, we ran an article commenting on new research that shows that Android has become much more than a headache for Apple. It is not difficult to predict that Android has all the genes it needs to dwarf Apple's walled garden product approach. Now we are seeing Samsung's Android tablet being prepped for launch, and it appears that Apple's rivals have learned how they can effectively compete with Apple.
The Samsung Galaxy tablet will not be available just from AT&T (NYSE: T ) . It will also be sold through T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint. There is no official pricing available yet, but a local T-Mobile sales representative told us during an informal information request call that the device will be offered for $199 with a 2-year service contract for the model with 2 GB memory and an additional 16 GB microSD card. Needless to say, T-Mobile did not officially confirm this information, and there was no information on how much the Galaxy tab may cost without a contract.
We do not know yet when the tablet will be available, and each provider has different versions to announce the expected availability. Sprint, for example, notes a "Fall" availability, while Verizon says the tablet will come in the coming weeks. What we do know, however, are the specs.
It will run a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor and use a 7" screen. There is a 3-megapixel camcorder (720p support) and a 1.3 megapixel webcam. The device has Wi-Fi b/g/n support and integrates GPS. It will be able to run Flash through Android 2.2 and support 3G networks for data.
Samsung will launch the Galaxy tab in the U.S. with what we hear is "limited availability," as our T-Mobile rep said that the company anticipates strong demand. However, there are now four providers that will bring the device to market, which is a clear advantage for Samsung over Apple, which has decided to only go with Apple. As time moves on, the AT&T partnership could turn into a mess for Apple as it limits its market expansion. Perhaps it is also time for Apple to consider its own manufacturing facilities as it has obviously hit production limits with its current partners.
The Apple of the iPhone/iPad/iPod is still a money printing machine, but Android is getting stronger and is attracting more customers already. If Apple does not want Android to turn into its second Windows experience, Apple will need to make some decisions to expand the availability of its iOS platform.
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