Wireless Carriers Tease Samsung Galaxy Tab Plans

In my first impressions of the Galaxy Tab, I provided some information about carrier availability, but it's worthwhile to focus here on what we know--and more important, what we don't know--about the different carriers' devices.

Samsung Galaxy Tab
Each of the four carriers already offers a custom branding of Samsung's Galaxy S family of smartphones. For the Galaxy Tab, Samsung said that it was leaving the pricing and availability announcements to each carrier--and right on cue, all four carriers have issued announcements about their respective devices.The announcements are thin on the details, though.

So far, none appear to have applied a unique name to the product, referring only to the Samsung Galaxy Tab. By contrast, the Galaxy S phones each have unique names: Captivate (AT&T), Vibrant (T-Mobile), Epic 4G (Sprint), and Fascinate (Verizon).

None of the carriers have discussed availability beyond broad strokes: "holiday" (T-Mobile), "the coming weeks" (Verizon), "the coming months" (AT&T), and "this fall" (Sprint).

In their respective announcements, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon each discuss a few of the customizations they'll make for their customers, but details are sparse here, too. AT&T mentions that the AT&T Connection Manager will automatically connect to AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots. Sprint says the Galaxy Tab will have mobile hotspot capability for up to five Wi-Fi devices. Verizon's release also mentions mobile hotspot support, and it's the only company to talk about the tablet's exclusive software tie-ins with its service: You'll find V Cast Music with Rhapsody, V Cast Video on Demand, V Cast Song ID, VZ Navigator, and the games Let's Golf and N.O.V.A. all preinstalled on the Verizon version of the Tab.

Most critically, perhaps, none of the carriers have given us an inkling as to the device's pricing or service-plan options; all of them say to expect this info closer to the actual launch dates. The device and service-plan pricing will be critical in determining whether consumers embrace the Galaxy Tab: Too high a price, and consumers may balk at the idea of having to buy into yet another data-plan service contract. As for unlocked devices, I wouldn't hold my breath--either the carrier-tied models will be untouchably priced, or unlocked versions won't exist at all, since Samsung indicated at today's New York launch event that it would offer a Wi-Fi-only version at some point as yet undetermined.

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At a Glance
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab

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