updated 03:30 pm EDT, Wed April 6, 2011
Samsung Galaxy Tab Wi-Fi hits US on April 10
(Update: reduced specs) Samsung finally ended months of delays and said it would launch the Wi-Fi only version of the Galaxy Tab in the US. The Android 2.2 tablet should reach stores on April 10 and will cost about $350, or a full $250 less than the 3G version did when it shipped in the fall. Just one version is available and will pack 32GB of built-in storage along with a microSDHC card slot.
A Wi-Fi Galaxy Tab has been one of Samsung's most elusive devices and one whose absence observers have said was fatal to the company's attempts to challenge the iPad early on. It was confirmed at CES in January but, without any news of a release, left anyone wanting an Android tablet having to consider paying a large premium for the 3G version and sometimes being forced to sign up for a data plan. One of Apple's advantages has been its determination to have a Wi-Fi iPad from the start, both lowering the base price and reducing the pressure to commit to a carrier.
The original Galaxy Tab may also face competition from its own creator. Samsung is shipping the Tab a month after news of the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 reaching the US. Both cost more than the seven-inch pioneer but are also much faster and are running Android 3.0, Google's first real tablet-optimized OS. Samsung isn't expected to upgrade the early model past 2.2 and will leave all of its users orphaned in terms of interface and features.
The price could still prove an advantage when competing against budget tablets in or near the $300 range. Most in that category are slower than the Galaxy Tab or otherwise lack its features and app support.
Update: Samsung said a day later that the Wi-Fi version comes with only 16GB of storage, not 32GB.