Optus unveils Galaxy tablet, takes aim at iPad
The company also announced it will launch its own brand-name tablet, the My Tab, in order to offer the "Android experience at an affordable price".
The move comes after Telstra released its own brand-name device, the T-Touch, and Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi says the competition is only evidence telcos are now viewing tablets as a serious growth market.
"I think for carriers, this is just another way to increase the number of devices on their networks. Penetration of mobile phones is now exceeding the population, and the next wave of growth has to come from new devices."
"With regards to Optus and Telstra, I believe you'll see a lot of competing gadgets come to market. But there is also some risk, because while the iPad has been successful that doesn't necessarily mean that success will translate to other devices. They need to be careful."
While Optus has previously confirmed it would be selling the Galaxy, the company finally announced more details yesterday including a final release date and pricing. The Galaxy will be available on several different price points, including a $59.95 cap plan with $0 upfront.
The company is pushing its 24-month plans as the main options, with the gadgets available on plans for $29.95, $39.95, $59.95 and $79.95, with handset repayments of $30, $15 and $0 respectively.
But Optus is also pushing the huge amounts of data to be included on each of the plans. With the $29.95 plan, users can access 8GB of data, while users on the high-end $79.95 plan can access a whopping 32GB of data per month. Each data plan is split into peak and off-peak times.
But these plans are far more expensive than the Telstra T-Touch. While users can purchase the Galaxy tablet from Samsung outright for $999, the T-Touch is available outright for $299.
However, Telstra only offers prepaid credits for the T-Touch and these come with less data than the Optus Galaxy plans.
Galaxy customers will also receive unlimited access to social networking sites, including Facebook, along with webmail.
"The tablet market has well and truly exploded. Offering these two devices to our existing device range gives our customers the option to choose the device, pricing structure and contract length that best suits their needs," managing director of Optus consumer Michael Smith said in a statement.
SMEs have also been thrown a rope, with the company to offer the gadget on a $55 mobile broadband plan, which includes 2GB of data and technical support 24 hours a day.
But the biggest announcement of the day was Optus' confirmation of a second tablet, the My Tab. Manufactured by ZTE, the gadget will feature a 3MP camera, seven-inch screen, upgradeable memory and Wi-Fi compatibility.
"The Optus My Tab is a high-spec entry level tablet which provides the Android Tablet experience at an affordable price," the company said.
The gadget will be available on pre-paid plans from next month, and will retail for $279. Post-paid plans will also be available, but Optus said these plans will be confirmed closer to launch.
Fadaghi says the inclusion of a subscription to The Australian fits in well with News Limited's strategy, and says this is expected of publishing companies trying to bring more customers online.
"News Limited for a very long time now has indicated it has ambitions to sell digital content. It's totally expected that they would be giving customers another way to access their content so they can get them into paying later."
The Galaxy tablet is one of the first in a series of gadgets designed to complete against the Apple iPad, which holds the majority of the market. Telstra has already released its T-Touch device, with other manufacturers including HP and Research In Motion set to release their own gadgets soon.
Fadaghi says the "new wave of growth" will come from these devices, particularly has users become more used to accessing data on mobiles and tablets.
"This simply shows that the tablet market is going to be big in the next 12 months and there is going to be huge demand for these types of devices. We haven't seen a massive amount of netbooks being sold, and these will address growth ambitions regarding that."