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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Samsung Galaxy Tab coming to all major US carriers

At their official press event this evening, Samsung announced that their previously rumored (then official) Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab, will soon be available from Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile in the US.

It will reportedly be available "before the holidays" for all carriers, but exact availability and pricing will, of course, be up to the carriers. Carriers will also be the ones to decide contract terms, and will be able to pre-install any apps they choose, similar to the way it's done with the Galaxy S line of phones.

A few things have changed for the US version since the Tab was first announced for Europe. A few of Samsung's custom apps and services won't be available on the US version, presumably because the carriers already offer similar services. But the biggest change is that none of the US versions will be able to do voice calls. The European version can connect to a Bluetooth headset, or use speaker phone to make voice calls, as if it were a large phone. The US versions cannot. They are simply data only. How this will affect contract pricing remains to be seen. Samsung also announced that a WiFi only version is coming sometime in the future.

Expect official announcements and more details from all four carriers over the next few weeks. For now, be sure to check out Engadget's coverage here, here, and here, as well as coverage by all the excellent Android blogs linked to on the side of this site.

I think it's really exciting that this device is coming to four carriers. Personally, I'm not all that interested in another contract, but I think this is a really great tablet that I can't wait to try for myself. If contract pricing is cheap enough, or once the WiFi only version is released, I really might consider it. It's a major bummer that voice calling was removed. That might have made the contract more palpable. Oh well, things are always changed for US releases, I suppose. And I can't really afford one anyway, voice calling or not. :-)

Of course it loses features when it comes to the US. Typical. I just don't really understand why a device that doesn't make calls is sold by phone carriers in the first place. I feel like it should be WiFi only since it will function as a computer, not a phone. So it should be sold like a computer, not a phone. I have a hard time with phone carriers taking over these little gray area markets and requiring contracts for everything under the sun.

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