Galaxy Tab to be sold by Sprint starting Nov. 14

Samsung tablet is priced at $400 with two-year Sprint contract, and at $600 without a contract

Sprint Nextel announced on Monday that it will start selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab touchscreen tablet on Nov. 14 for $399.99 with a two-year service contract.

While the official statement from Sprint doesn't indicate it, a spokesman confirmed that the carrier will sell the Galaxy without a contract for $200 more, or $599.99. Verizon Wireless had announced last week that it will start selling the Galaxy without a contract only on Nov. 11, also for $599.99.

All four major carriers will carry the Galaxy Tab, a seven-inch touchscreen tablet that runs Android 2.2 and Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and includes dual cameras for video chat functionality.

AT&T has not yet revealed when it will begin selling the device or how much it will charge for it.

The fourth major U.S. carrier, T-Mobile, is reportedly set to begin selling the Galaxy Tab on Nov. 10. T-Mobile has not officially confirmed a price or sales date.

And Best Buy will offer a Wi-Fi-only version of the Galaxy Tab for $499.99 at an unknown date, according to various blog sites.

Sprint customers will have two rate plans for the Galaxy Tab, a 2GB data plan with unlimited text and multimedia messaging for $29.99 a month or a 5GB data plan with unlimited messaging for $59.99 a month. Presumably those Sprint Galaxy data plans apply to both contract and noncontract customers, although Sprint did not immediately verify that would be the case or whether noncontract customers would get text and multimedia messaging included in that pricing.

Sprint's data rates are $10 higher than Verizon's. Verizon is charging $20 for 1GB of data usage on the Galaxy, $35 for 3GB, $50 for 5GB and $80 for 10GB. The carrier will also start selling Apple's iPad tablet bundled with a MiFi mobile hot spot device with the same data plans as the Galaxy starting Oct. 28. Verizon has said that the no-contract plans are limited to tablets, since they are new to Verizon and will offer unusual new uses for customers.

Sprint, which has focused much of its attention on 4G wireless over Wimax in 55 cities, noted that the Galaxy adds a new category of wireless devices to its lineup. However, the Galaxy Tab will not work over 4G.

Fared Adib, vice president of Sprint product development, called the Galaxy "a powerful entertainment device and business tool," noting that it includes a 1-GHz processor for fast browsing, video chat and other applications.

The Galaxy is able to act as a mobile hot spot for up to five Wi-Fi-ready devices; that functionality can be purchased for an added $29.99 a month, Sprint said.

Sprint said that, starting today, its customers can pre-order a Galaxy at any participating Sprint retail store with the purchase of a $50 Sprint gift card. When a customer places a pre-order, his name will be added to a waiting list so he can be contacted for an appointment to complete the Galaxy purchase on Nov. 14.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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