Samsung takes aim at Apple's iPad, iTunes

South Korea's Samsung took aim at Apple's iPad and iTunes on Friday with the US launch of its new Galaxy tablet computer and an online entertainment hub for movies and television shows.

Samsung said US wireless carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon will sell the Galaxy Tab, which was unveiled at the IFA electronics trade fair in Berlin, Germany, in early September.

Samsung said the Galaxy Tab would be available in the United States in the "coming months" but did not provide pricing details of the touchscreen device seen as its answer to the iPad.

The South Korean electronics giant said the Galaxy Tab will offer access to "Media Hub," a new content service at Samsung.com.

MTV Networks, NBC Universal and Paramount are among the partners in Media Hub, which Samsung said will offer a "robust library" of movies, including new release films, next day television episodes and full TV show seasons.

Movies and TV shows can be rented or purchased and shared with up to five devices including Galaxy S smartphones, Samsung said.

"The new site further shifts the company from a product and technology provider to providing an overall digital experience," Samsung said in a statement.

Releasing the Galaxy Tab in the United States, Samsung sought to emphasize its differences with the iPad, which has been a hot seller for Apple since it hit stores in April.

Samsung noted that the Galaxy Tab has front- and rear-facing video cameras, allowing for video chat, and runs the popular Flash video software from Adobe.

The iPad does not have a camera and Apple has banned Flash from the device.

"With support for Flash Player 10.1, the Galaxy Tab delivers an enhanced content experience when compared to other tablets currently available in the US," Samsung said.

The Galaxy has a seven-inch (17.8-centimeter) touchscreen, smaller than the iPad's 9.7 inches, weighs 0.8 pounds (380 grams), almost half the iPad's 1.5 pounds, and is powered by Google's Android operating system.

"The Samsung Galaxy Tab is designed for people who want a premium mobile entertainment experience on the go, but don't want to be weighed down by a bulky device," Samsung said.

The Galaxy Tab provides access to the more than 80,000 applications available on the Android Market, Samsung said.

The Galaxy Tab is one of a number of tablet computers slated for release in a bid to challenge the iPad.

US computer maker Dell offers the "Dell Streak," an Android-powered device with a five-inch screen, and Japan's Toshiba unveiled its "Folio 100" at the IFA in Berlin,

US handset maker Motorola said this week it hopes to release a tablet computer powered by Android early next year and South Korea's LG Electronics has promised to release an Android-based tablet computer before December.

US computer giant Hewlett-Packard is pinning its hopes on its Slate.

Glenn Lurie, president of AT&T's emerging devices, welcomed the arrival of the Galaxy Tab.

"We're looking forward to expanding our computing device portfolio and giving our AT&T customers more great choices with this innovative device," Lurie said.

AT&T is the exclusive provider of 3G cellular service in the United States for Apple's iPhone and iPad.

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