Galaxy Tab unveiled as Samsung's first tablet computer

How Samsung's new Galaxy Tab compares to Apple's iPad

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Samsung has become the latest challenger to enter the tablet computer battle, unveiling its Galaxy Tab at the IFA conference in Berlin.

The device will run on Google's Android operating system, with a capacity of 16 or 32GB, expandable by 32GB more.

It weighs 380g (14oz), and has an 18cm (7in) screen - smaller and lighter than its principal rival the iPad.

Vodafone has announced that it will distribute the device in European markets including the UK in October.

The tablet can connect via 3G networks, as well as wi-fi and Bluetooth.

It will employ Samsung's "Reader's Hub" for e-books and the "Media Hub" for music and videos. It supports Flash video and will be able to stream content to a TV.

Analysis

At first sight, Samsung's Galaxy Tab looks to have more to it than the iPad.

Samsung says its research shows people want this device to be useable on the move and they need to be able to communicate with it.

So the Tab can make calls - and video calls, as well as all the video, music and book content that you get on an iPad.

You'll be able to access millions of books, plus newspapers and magazines - Samsung even says that "we expect the Tab to play an important role in the digitalization of printed material".

Samsung called it "the first of the company's tablet devices", suggesting further models will be forthcoming.

"Samsung recognises the tremendous growth potential in this newly-created market and we believe that the Samsung Galaxy Tab brings a unique and open proposition to market," said Samsung's head of mobile communications JK Shin.

"There is a new and emerging consumer demand that Samsung can satisfy since mobile is in our DNA."

Vodafone's Patrick Chomet said that the firm is "pleased to be introducing" the Galaxy Tab.

"Adding tablets as part of our device range is a natural next step that gives customers an alternative way to enjoy great content and internet services," he said.

Technology analysts CCS Insight said that Samsung had joined the tablet melee with an "attractive device and strong service offer", calling the 7-inch size an "appealing form factor".

However they note that in a market with an increasing number of tablet competitors, pricing will become the crucial issue.

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