Jan. 6, 2011 at 6:43 PM ET
A Wi-Fi only version of Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet will be offered in the U.S. in the first quarter of the year, Samsung said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
It's news that fans of the 7-inch Android-based tablet have been waiting for since it was released last fall as a Wi-Fi/3G cellular version, available only through wireless carriers. Samsung did not say what the Wi-Fi-only version will cost.
The 13.8-ounce tablet so far is the main challenger to Apple's iPad (although that will change with other strong, new competitors coming out in the months ahead). The Galaxy Tab retails for between $400 and $650 at carriers, in addition to the cost of monthly data service, which also varies by provider.
Meanwhile, a version of the Galaxy Tab that can run on speedier 4G, or fourth-generation, cellular networks will be available exclusively through Verizon Wireless, it was also announced (although availability and pricing are not yet known). The 4G tablet will be the same size as the current model, but get a bump in processing power, from a 1 GHz to a 1.2 GHz processor. Verizon Wireless recently launched its 4G network, which will be completed by the end of 2013.
"We’re very excited that the Galaxy Tab recently passed the 1.5 million global shipments milestone," said Omar Khan, chief strategy officer for Samsung Mobile, in a press release.
Best Buy will carry the Wi-Fi only tablet, and while there's no word on pricing for it, a Best Buy ad that was pulled last fall may give some clue. That ad, accidentally run, showed a Wi-Fi only version going for $499.