Today begins the full “wide release” of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, featuring the updated Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) operating system and available in 16GB and 32GB storage space varieties. The tablet being released today is the wi-fi only version, although 3G/4G models are coming soon. A 64GB model expected on the horizon as well. A smaller screened 8.9-inch model is expected early summer.
Samsung built the newest Galaxy Tab as a direct competitor to the market leading Apple iPad 2. The specifications for both devices include a dual-core processor, front and rear-facing cameras. Again, either 16- or 32GB of internal storage. Both the Apple and Samsung tablets lack SD card support and HDMI video output ports. While this omission is standard for Apple tablets, it runs counter to the expectations on Android tablets such as the popular Asus EeePad Transformer.
It's unclear how many devices have been pre-ordered. Just how many units Samsung expects to sell at launch.
Despite today being the wide-release date, the first Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 devices have been in consumer’s hands for varying periods of time. The first 5,000 units, marked as Limited Edition and featuring Android 3.0 (since wirelessly updated to 3.1), were given to attendees of the Google I/O conference earlier in May of this year. Additionally, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was released in one store in New York City, Best Buy Union Square, on June 8, 2011. This one-location early release date gave consumers in the Manhattan area a 10-day lead on ownership of this newest Galaxy Tab.
The Galaxy Tab will face amazing competiton from not only Apple. Also Asus, who's claimed that they'll ship more tablets than any other manufacturer than Apple during 2011. Motorola, who released the first Android Honeycomb tablet, which was the first version of Android built specifically for tablets, has had less than spectacular results with their Xoom tablet. This could've been due to the offering of 3G/4G-upgradable devices only at launch. Samsung looks to reverse this market strategy by beginning with wi-fi only models.
Samsung competitor Acer claims there is still market demand outside of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android for Windows 7 based tablets (such as the HP Slate 500). However Windows isn't expected to be a major competitor in the tablet market until the 2012 release of Windows 8.