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Samsung Galaxy Tab finally hits shops, available pimped with diamonds

The iPad-baiting, 7-inch, Android 2.2-boasting Samsung Galaxy Tab is available to order online, with various retailers offering it on standalone and contract deals.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab -- the 7-inch, Android 2.2-boasting slate which could finally give the iPad a run for its money -- is finally available.

The Carphone Warehouse, which had been taking pre-orders for the last few weeks, opened a few of its stores an hour early so people could collect pre-ordered tablets. The lucky man in the picture above is Stephen Dalchow from Malden, who was the first person to pick up a Tab just after 8am this morning. Yes. That really happened.

You can pick up the tablet SIM-free from Carphone for £530. If you want 3G data, add that up-front cost to three rolling Vodafone contract deals at £10, £15 and £25 per month, depending on whether you want 1GB, 3GB or 5GB of Internet allowance. If you sign up with Talk Mobile you can have the tablet at a cheaper £500, with a £10 rolling monthly deal giving you 1GB of Internet per month.

If you're willing to sign a longer-term contract with Talk Mobile, you can have the Tab cheaper upfront. It'll cost you £480 if you sign up for 18 months on a £10 per month deal with 1GB of Internet. Sign up for £20 per month for two years and you can have the Tab up front for £400. All six of the Carphone deals offered give you 100 minutes, 500 texts and a free official keyboard dock.

It's an awful lot of money, but it will pay to shop around before you make a decision. Vodafone, Orange, O2 and 3 have already confirmed they will be offering it.

If you're so inclined, there's also an option to buy a blinged-up Tab, with Samsung obviously taking inspiration from the sparkly atrocities meted out to Nokia and iPhone smart phones.

The CrystalRoc Samsung Galaxy Tab has 5,700 Swarovski Bright Crystals, all hand-applied. The Galaxy Tab logo is picked out in the luxurious-sounding jet hematite. You can pick this up through Micro Anivka at Harrods, and see it in all its blinging glory in this video: