By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 16, 2012 12:49 PM EDT
Verizon announced that it will be offering a 4G LTE-enabled version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 starting on Aug. 17. Until now, consumers who wanted a 7-inch tablet with LTE capabilities needed to invest a considerable amount of money for the pricier Galaxy Tab 7.7. Verizon will now offer the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 for $350, contract-free. At $350 without a contract, the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 is Verizon's cheapest 4G tablet offering.
LTE capability means that users will be able to surf the Web enjoying considerably faster speeds on Verizon's network instead of relying on Wi-Fi. In addition, the Tab 2 7.0 is Samsung Approved for Enterprise; it has 256-bit AES encryption and support for Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync, as well as support for VPNs and MDM solutions.
Besides the cellular link, the LTE Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 brings no major changes from the Wi-Fi version. It sports a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, a 7-inch PLS 1024 x 600 display, 1GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage with room for additional memory via microSD, a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, and a front-facing VGA camera. Although it does not pack the most recent Android version, the Tab 2 7.0 does come with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box.
Service plans are purchased separately from the tablet's $350 price tag, but customers who have already signed up for the carrier's Share Everything plan can add the tablet for an extra $10 per month, and the tablet can draw from their existing data pool. Meanwhile, new plans start at $40, which will get customers 4GB per month for shareable data devices.
On the other hand, the 7-inch tablet market is growing and several options are out there. Google's Nexus 7, for instance, sports a much smaller price tag at just $199, but it doesn't offer a microSD card slot. Moreover, Sprint offers the ZTE Optik tablet free with any smartphone, Barnes & Noble fights competition by dropping Nook prices, and rumors are increasingly persistent about an iPad Mini and a Kindle Fire 2.
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