Samsung will release its Galaxy Tab tablet no later than the third quarter of this year, revealed J.K. Shin, president of the company's mobile communications division, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Tuesday.
Based on the few specs and a photo leaked earlier this month, the Galaxy Tab will sport a high-resolution 7-inch display, making it more compact than Apple's iPad with its 9.7-inch screen. Blog site Samsung Hub (not affiliated with Samsung) said the 7-inch model will hit the market in August, and that two others may follow: an 8-inch version in October and a 10-inch edition in December.
Photos of the Galaxy Tab, tweeted by Samsung South Africa's Twitter account, reveal a phone icon on its screen, while a brief video as shown on Engadget displays a dialer, lending some credence to previous reports that the tablet will double as a phone.
The Android-based Wave will join a growing cavalcade of other tablet devices gearing up to compete with the iPad, including the current Archos 7 Home Tablet, the upcoming 5-inch Streak from Dell, and a Google OS-based tablet from Verizon.
On another front, Samsung has been seeing lower demand for some of its handset products as a result of the debt problem in Europe, according to the Journal. Shin told the newspaper that the company's two biggest pillars of growth are North America and Europe, so the European economic situation could affect Samsung's handset business in the second quarter.
The Galaxy S has recently started trickling into Europe with launches in the U.K. earlier this month. Its worldwide debut this summer will take the smartphone to 100 mobile operators around the world, including in the U.S. where it will be available from all four major carriers, though one rumor says T-Mobile may be first in line with a launch date of July 21.
The Wave also has already hit certain European countries but, as of yet, Samsung has announced no release date for the U.S. market.
Shin said he expects the company to sell around 1 million Galaxy S handsets each month. That should boost the average selling price for Samsung's handsets and in turn improve operating profits.
The overall global handset market should rise to around 1.2 billion units this year, followed by annual growth of 7 percent to 8 percent, Shin said. He also told the Journal he believes smartphones will become more mainstream as people transition from traditional phones, with 260 million smartphones shipping this year and 300 million in 2011.