Galaxy Tab cheaper in the US, but data access more costly

Analyst: Samsung's tablet the only credible competitor to the iPad, but Apple will dominate going forward

Consumers who buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab from Verizon Wireless without a contract will pay less than European consumers for the device, but they will pay more for accessing the Internet.

The number of operators selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab is slowly growing. For example, Swedish operator 3 and Vodafone in the U.K. have already started selling Samsung's iPad competitor, and next week they will be joined by Verizon in the U.S.

All three operators sell the device without long contracts, and allow users to pick and choose between different monthly plans.

The cost of the device at Verizon is $US600, which when you add the average state sales tax will come to about $633. That compares very favorably to what consumers in the U.K. and Sweden have to pay. In the U.K. Vodafone charges £499 ($805) and Swedes have to pay 6,995 Swedish kronor ($1,054) for the tablet at 3, including value added tax.

However, when it comes to paying for data access, the tables are turned. Subscribers in Sweden pay about $15 for a plan that includes 1GB of data -- if that isn't enough they can pay $30 for 20GB. Vodafone's subscribers options include 1GB for $16 or 3GB for $24. At Verizon, plans with 1GB and 3GB of data cost $20 and $35, respectively.

All three operators sell the version of the Galaxy Tab that comes with 16GB of built-in storage, which can be expanded using a MicroSD card slot. The Android-based Galaxy Tab is also equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels, a 1GHz processor and A-GPS.

On the front is a 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls or conferencing, and on the back a 3-megapixel camera with an LED lamp. The Tab weighs 380 grams, and measures 19 centimeters by 12 cm by 1.2 cm.

So far, Samsung's Galaxy Tab is the only credible competitor to Apple's iPad, according to Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight. However, he expects the iPad to capture "between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of the addressable market in 2011," he said in a recent blog post.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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