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Verizon announced on Wednesday that it will sell Samsung's Android-based tablet for $599.99 just a few weeks after the nation's largest wireless carrier begins selling Apple's iPad. The two touchscreen tablets will compete on the same carrier and in the same stores.
Samsung's tablet will sell for $30 less than a 16GB iPad with 3G, though Apple's device has a larger, 9.7-inch screen. In Verizon stores, the iPad will be bundled with a 3G MiFi wireless hotspot at a cost of $629.99, and at AT&T, the iPad has integrated 3G.
But Apple still maintains has a price advantage at the entry level — the 16GB, 9.7-inch Wi-Fi iPad lacking built-in 3G connectivity is just $499.
"This is an incredible time in mobile technology, and as a company we're excited to add the Samsung Galaxy Tab to our portfolio," said Marni Walden, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. "The Samsung Galaxy Tab brings together the reliability of Verizon Wireless' 3G network and the power of Android 2.2 to deliver on our promise of providing consumers and business customers with a host of options to help manage their lives."
In September, Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab would be available on all four major U.S. wireless carriers. At the time, no prices or dates were given.
The device maker also plans to offer a Wi-Fi-only version of the Galaxy Tab, but has not announced a release date. The iPad sold through Verizon, bundled with a MiFi will be Wi-Fi-only.
The Galaxy Tab includes support for Adobe Flash 10.1 and a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Application processor. Verizon also touted the device's ability to access V CAST Music and V CAST Song ID, VZ Navigator, Slacker Radio, Kindle for Android, Blockbuster On Demand presented by V CAST Video, and the exclusive golf game, "Let's Golf."
Like with the iPad and MiFi combo, Verizon will offer data plans for the Galaxy Tab starting at $20 for 1GB.
Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs caused a stir earlier this week when he said devices like the Galaxy Tab with a 7-inch display would be inferior to the iPad due to the smaller screen real estate. Jobs said a 7-inch screen was "meaningless" unless the device shipped with "sandpaper so that the user can sand down their fingers to about one quarter of their present size."
Research in Motion, which plans to release its own 7-inch tablet, the PlayBook, next year, fired back, saying that any issues with a smaller display exist only inside of "Apple's distortion field." RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said he thinks customers are "getting tired of being told what to think by Apple."
Jobs also took another shot at tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab running Android 2.2, the latest update to Google's mobile operating system. Jobs argued that unlike iOS, which was rebuilt to accommodate the iPad, Android 2.2 is being shoehorned into tablet devices.
"Nearly all of these tablets use Android. But even Google is saying don't use Froyo [the current release of Android OS], and instead to wait to use next years' version," Jobs said. "What does it mean when a software maker says not to use their release and you use it anyway?"