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Samsung 7-Inch Galaxy Tablet to Rival iPad?

Samsung has released its 7-inch Galaxy tab - a mid-range tablet that aims to tap into the Apple iPad market. The new tablet will be available in the US on 4 major carriers: Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, T&T, and runs using the Google Android operating system.

Although the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy is smaller than the 10-inch iPad, there will always be comparisons drawn between rival tablets. In fact, even Apple CEO Steve Jobs was quick to shoot down a viable 7-inch tablet, saying at Apple's quarterly review that a 10-inch screen was "the minimum required to create great tablet apps" while 7-inch tablets like the Samsung Galaxy will be "DOA, dead on arrival and manufacturers will realize they're too small and abandon them next year. They'll then increase the size, abandoning the customers and developers who bought into the smaller format." To add even more flames to the fire, Jobs then criticised Google's Android system by exclaiming: "we think Android is very, very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day."

This comment could be in light of Google's original comments regarding the Galaxy's running system. The Android 2.2 Froyo, "[is] not optimized for use on tablets," according to Hugo Barra, Google's director of mobile products, which was reported by TechRadar UK back in September. Barra continued by saying that 2.2 Froyo was "not going to be available on devices that don't allow applications to run correctly."

Yet the Samsung Galaxy is here, and does run 2.2 Froyo, and has, generally speaking, impressed early users. The Galaxy has duel cameras (unlike the iPad) - one front, one back - which enable both a 3-megapixel camera similar to a smartphone and the advantage of conference calls with a 1.3MP lens in front for video chat using apps such as Qik and Fring.

The Samsung Galaxy's tab browser also comes with a Flash Player 10.1 - something the iPad doesn't - but early reviews suggest that this may hinder the tablet, as opposed to improve it. The issue being, that Flash videos, banner ads, and other interactive elements slow the tablet down - generally slowing a page opening by a few seconds - making usability a little more difficult.

A major sticking point for Samsung might be with price; according to which report you read, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are all charging around $600 for the tablet on a no-contract basis, with Sprint and T-Mobile offering to knock off a third of the price if for a two-year contract.

The price also varies slightly on storage space - the $600 option does come with a 16GB microSD memory card) - which is $30 less than the 16GB, 3G-enabled iPad.

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