Samsung brings Galaxy Tab 8.9 to the US, despite lawsuits

Samsung trots the Galaxy Tab 8.9, in 16GB and 32GB flavors. But Samsung has also drawn Apple’s ire – and that might affect its ability to do business.

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    The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 was unveiled in August. Here, a Samsung launch event in July.
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Lawsuits, what lawsuits?

Samsung’s ongoing legal battles with Apple apparently made no difference this week, as the former released its Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablet. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 arrives stateside on Sunday, Oct. 2, in two flavors: 16GB for $469, and 32GB for $569.

Before diving into the bad blood between Apple and Samsung, let’s take a quick look at the product on offer here. The 0.3-inch-thick tablet, powered by Android 3.1 “Honeycomb,” sports a dual-core processor, 8.9-inch display, a 3-megapixel rear camera, and 2-megapixel front camera. The new Tab can both record and play back video content in full 1080p HD resolution.

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For right now, at least, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 is Wi-Fi only. No word on when (or whether) 3G or 4G versions of the tablet will become available. It’s worth pointing out, though, that Samsung offers a 4G version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 through Verizon Wireless, so it’s not unreasonable to expect that its smaller sibling might get some 4G love, too.

Is Samsung trying to eat Apple’s lunch here – especially since its pricing on the Galaxy Tab 8.9 undercuts Apple’s 16GB and 32GB models by $30? Well, that’s where the lawyers get involved. Previous iterations of the Galaxy Tab, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S phone, have sparked lawsuits in 12 countries worldwide. Basically, Apple has accused Samsung of copying both its technology and its design. Maybe the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab resembles the 9.7-inch iPad 2 just a little too closely?

US courts haven’t heard any Apple suits against Samsung yet, but a court date can’t be far off: InformationWeek reports that the International Trade Commission is looking at pending litigation concerning the Galaxy S, and that Apple has sued Samsung in California for “slavishly copying” its products.

Samsung apparently isn’t going to let its legal troubles stop it from releasing products, though. It’s announced plans to bring a 7.7-inch Galaxy Tab to the US, although it hasn’t said when. What happens if Samsung loses in court, though? Well, it could be prevented from selling – or even supporting – the devices that Apple names in its complaints. (A German court has already banned marketing certain Samsung devices in the European country pending further litigation.) We’ll have to wait and see how the legal battle shakes out, but in the meantime, consumers can rejoice – there’s plenty of Galaxy Tab goodness to go around.

What do you think, readers? Are you considering buying a Galaxy Tab? Do you consider it an iPad ripoff? Maybe both? Let us know in the comments.

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