Will You Buy A Tablet From A Mobile Phone Company?

Last week we learned about the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which is an appealing 7-inch tablet running Android. We do not yet know how much it will cost, but today AndroidGuys is reporting on a Wall Street Journal article that says the Galaxy Tab will be sold by Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. Engadget has uncovered a photo that appears to confirm at least the AT&T portion of the news. In my opinion the news that the Galaxy Tab will be sold by mobile phone companies highlights the problem of using Android in tablets.

I doubt that there will be many people who will seriously use a 7-inch tablet to make phone calls, but because the Samsung Tab has a cellular radio that pretty much means it has to be sold by the mobile phone companies in the United States. I think the sales of the Samsung Tab will be negatively affected by only being available via the mobile phone companies. First, you have the obvious total cost of ownership issue of having to pay monthly amounts for voice and data services, which will make the Samsung extremely more expensive in comparison to the iPad.

Even if the the mobile companies provide data-only services without a contract, the second issue is the control that mobile phone companies will likely place on the Samsung Tab. We’ve seen what Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T like to do with Android on mobile phones by slowing down the distribution of upgrades to Android and adding all sorts of bloatware on the phones. If the only way people are going to be able to buy good Android tablets is from mobile phone companies then I think Android tablets will not stand a chance in making a dent on iPad sales.