Despite officially announcing the Galaxy Tab and unveiling its UK launch date, Samsung has remained elusive with the pricing for its upcoming Android slate device. The first hint at pricing came from online retailers which created placeholder pages for the Galaxy Tab with a price around $1000. As Galaxy Tab’s November 1st UK launch date approaches, another source has come forward with an equally astonishing price of £599.99 ($953 USD) for an off-contract Galaxy Tab in the UK.
Before you start questioning this latest leak, this is not some publicity stunt by a small retailer looking to snag some traffic while the Galaxy Tab is hot. This latest pricing information reportedly comes from the DSG Group, a British electronics retail giant, which leaked the pricing details to Pocket-Lint. While the source is a well-known and respected company, this high price tag may not be final price from Samsung. The Korean manufacturer could be playing with us by releasing different price points to see which one offers the best mixture of public acceptance and profit margin.
Samsung is entering a highly competitive market dominated by Apple’s iPad and has to come in at the right price with its Galaxy Tab. Too high of a price and the game is over as few customers will pay a premium for an Android tablet. Too low of a price and the manufacturer may be forced to curtail the tablet due to low profit margins. We have seen this happen with netbooks. Though popular with consumers due to their sub-$400 price tag, they are the bane of a hardware manufacturers portfolio due to their exceptionally slim profit margins.
Of course, Samsung may be hoping deals with wireless carriers will bring its Android tablet device to the consumers at a price point that is easy on the wallet. This strategy is clear in the US as the Galaxy Tab will be available on all four major wireless carriers including Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless. Vodafone and NTT DoCoMo also confirmed that they will be carrying the Android tablet when it launches in the upcoming weeks.
Though a low price tag is attractive, this reliance on carrier contracts could backfire as consumers may be reluctant to sign up for a two-year contract for a tablet device. With the exception of a handful of 3G-enabled netbooks, the iPad and the Galaxy Tab are the first mass-market tablet devices to be offered on a contract-basis. While consumers don’t seem to mind signing a contract to get a subsidized smartphone, it remains to be seen whether this willingness to commit to a two-year agreement extends to tablet devices.
I am inclined to think it doesn’t. As much as I would love to add a Galaxy Tab to my arsenal of mobile devices, I am not willing to commit to an expensive data-only contract for two years. I would prefer to buy the tablet off-contract at a price equal to or less than the iPad and add data on a month-to-month basis when needed. Anyone else share a similar preference for an off-contract device or am I being a curmudgeon for dismissing carrier-subsidized sales of the Galaxy Tab?
If you want to see what the Galaxy Tab offers in it 7-inch package, then check out our hands-on review.