Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 is the latest in the company's long line of tablets. But if the initial pricing details are true, the device is likely to be a hard sell.
Revealing what it says are the "official" prices across several countries in Europe, blogging site Sammy Hub found that the price in U.S. dollars for the Wi-Fi-only version ranged from $419 to $450, while the cost of the Wi-Fi+3G version varied from $523 to $568.
Those prices cover four Scandinavian countries, including Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark, though the new tablet will make its global debut next month starting in the U.K.
Samsung told CNET that pricing has not yet been announced for the Tab 2.
But if Sammy Hub's information is correct and those prices signal what the Tab 2 will cost elsewhere in the world, then Samsung is already pricing itself out of the market.
The screen itself will use a 1024x600 pixel PLS (plane-to-line-switching) LCD display, which offers better viewing angles than those found in conventional LCDs.
Samsung will sell the tablet in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB models. The price ranges revealed by Sammy Hub didn't specify the actual models. A microSD card slot can hold up to another 32GB in data. The Tab 2 will also sport a 3-megapixel fixed-focus camera in the rear and a VGA-quality Webcam in the front.
Led by Ice Cream Sandwich, some of the specs are a healthy improvement over those of the original 7-inch Tab. But the front and rear cameras are limited. And $450 is asking a lot to pay for a Wi-Fi-only tablet.
Samsung doesn't seem to have gotten the memo that Android tablets are now competing more on price, led by hot demand for Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire. Pricing a tablet at more than $400, even with a high-quality screen and other nice features, doesn't seem like a savvy strategy. Beyond competing with other Android tablet makers, Samsung must contend with its archrival and tablet leader Apple, which sells the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad for $499.
The new Galaxy Tab 2 also adds to the confusion and complexity behind Samsung's ever-growing lineup of Android tablets. The company currently sells the original 7-inch Tab, the Tab 7.0 Plus, the Tab 7.7, the Tab 8.9, and the Tab 10.1. It also recently introduced the Galaxy Note, a 5.3-inch device that Samsung is marketing as a phone but which seems more like a small tablet.
Choice can be a good thing, but consumers can easily be overwhelmed by such a dizzying array of products with no clear differences in features other than their respective sizes. Why would tablet buyers choose the Tab 2 over the Tab 7.0 Plus? And why would they pick an 8.9 or 7.7 Tab over its 7-inch counterparts other than to get a slightly larger screen?
Rather than wrestling with all those choices and questions, the average tablet buyer will just pick up an iPad. No difficult decisions to be made other than choosing the size and deciding on Wi-Fi only or 3G.
And so Apple continues to lead the tablet pack and will continue to lead it as long as the top Android vendors fail to compete on price and simplicity.