Samsung Electronics Co. will launch a WiFi-only version of the Galaxy Tab in the domestic market, which is one-third cheaper than its predecessor, the company said Tuesday.
Samsung Electronics started to receive pre-orders for the WiFi-only Galaxy Tab at the price of 600,000 won ($536) this week through its online Web site and retail shops in Korea. It did not disclose the launch date.
The WiFi-only version has the identical specifications as the Galaxy Tab tablet computer except that it lacks connectivity to the cellular network. It cannot make voice calls or send text messages through cellular networks but has access to the Internet through WiFi networks.
A Samsung spokesman said that the company has not determined the release date for the product and does not have details about the global launch.
A model shows Samsung Electronics’ 7-inch Galaxy Tab launched Tuesday through KT Corp. (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung’s first Galaxy Tab, which made a global debut in October last year, costs about $900 without a two-year contract from mobile operators. Samsung sold 2 million Galaxy Tab computers to mobile operators as of January.
Samsung is also scheduled to release the Galaxy Tab that supports local telecom titan KT Corp.’s Wireless Broadband (WiBro), or mobile WiFi networks this month. The model is available exclusively through KT at around $800.
Pricing has been among the sticking points for the Korean company lately, after Apple Inc. announced last week the iPad 2 with upgraded features while keeping the same starting price at $499.
Samsung’s second generation of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, unveiled in February, is widely expected to be priced higher than the iPad 2.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 sports a larger screen, a lighter body and a faster processor than its earlier, 7-inch model.
The company did not disclose pricing details, adding that prices will be negotiated with mobile operators.
Market watchers said that the iPad 2’s competitive price may be pressuring Samsung to reconsider its strategy of putting a higher price tag for its latest tablet, which is larger and costs more materials than the earlier Galaxy Tab.
A Samsung executive’s recent comment reflects growing concerns about pricing inside the company. Lee Don-joo, an executive vice president for Samsung’s mobile team, suggested Friday that the price of the iPad 2 poses a new challenge to the Korean company’s push to the tablet computer market.
“The 10-inch (tablet) was to be priced higher than the 7-inch (tablet) but we will have to think that over,” Lee told Yonhap News Agency.