Coming soon from Samsung: a new tablet computer designed to compete in the iPad market. Running the Android operating system from Google, it will be smaller than the iPad, with a 7-inch screen instead of the iPad's 9.7 inches. The release is currently scheduled for third quarter of this year.

The revelation came on the heels of the appearance of an image of the new device being presented. rumors of such a device have been around since the beginning of this year under a variety of names including Galaxy Tab , P1000 , and sPad .

The Android operating system, which is Linux-based, is open source , allowing any hardware manufacturer to use it for devices. A major problem in its use for the Samsung tablet is posed by the fact that Android hasn't been optimized for tablet use. The current version of Android, 2.2 ( FroYo ), is limited to an 854x480 screen resolution, meaning that the display is too large to be seen at high resolution. Similarly, there's not much support for Android on devices other than smart phones, and such devices may even be unable to use the Google's Android Market due to hardware requirements. Such concerns may be why HP has postponed its plans for an Android-based tablet.

Samsung's not the only manufacturer eying the iPad market . Microsoft is working with PC makers adapting the Windows operating system to tablets while LG Electronics and Dell will be introducing tablets also running on the Android operating system by the end of this year. The ARCHOS tablet , released last year, runs on the Android OS.

Features included in the device, which will be similar to Samsung's Galaxy phone , are said to include TouchWiz UI, a front facing camera to allow video chat, 3.5 mm headphone jack, a high-resolution TFT (thin-film transistor) screen, 3G network capability. It is unknown whether or not users will be able to make phone calls with the device.

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this is a major WOW. samsung is a genius for creating such a tablet. hope it goes a little bit cheaper so i can afford :)

conratulations to samsung for this very handy tablet. im pretty sure it will be a hit.

cool gadget. hopefully they can beat the the hell of ipad out of them. xD