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Samsung to officially launch Galaxy Tab in NYC

Alongside a Media Hub service for TV show and movie rentals and purchases, the electronics maker is expected to offer more details on its iPad competitor tonight at an event.

Samsung Electronics is expected to officially launch its new Android-based tablet PC on Thursday evening at an event in New York, likely naming three of the four major wireless operators in the United States as carrier partners.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint Nextel had all reached agreements with Samsung to offer the new Galaxy Tab, set to be an Apple iPad competitor, that runs Google's Android 2.2 operating system.

Exact pricing for the new device isn't yet known, but Hankil Yoon, an executive at Samsung, recently told the Journal that the Galaxy Tab would likely retail for between $200 and $300. Yoon said he expects Samsung to ship 10 million units and take a third of the global tablet market next year.

It's unclear if any of the wireless carriers will offer a subsidy for the device.

Apple's iPad models offering 3G Internet connectivity on AT&T's network cost $629 and $829, depending on storage capacity. Apple sells a Wi-Fi -only version of the device for $499.

The Galaxy Tab, which has a 7-inch screen, runs on Google's Android software, supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G cellular connectivity, and features a camera on each side, is basically a bigger version of Samsung's new Galaxy S smartphone. And unlike the iPad, it supports Flash Player 10.1, which means that users can watch Flash-based content. There is also a gyroscope and accelerometer. And it supports 32GB of internal memory, 512MB of RAM, and can accommodate microSD cards for another 32GB of memory, according to reports.

The fact that the new tablet will be available on more than one cellular operator's 3G network could be an important differentiator for the Galaxy Tab. But the lack of apps for the new device could be a problem.

To provide more content for the Galaxy Tab, as well as the Galaxy S smartphone, Samsung is also expected to announce a Media Hub service enabling people to rent or purchase TV shows and movies for their devices. Prices are expected to range from $3 a day for rentals to between $12 and $20 for movie purchases.

Samsung will be streaming the event live tonight from this Web site, starting at 7 p.m. EDT (4 p.m. PDT).