Samsung unveils 7-inch Galaxy tablet

After teasing the world with a glossy-looking preview video a week or so ago, Samsung has finally announced its much-anticipated Galaxy tablet.

Airing the device for the first time at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin this morning, Samsung told the assembled press that the Galaxy "is pushing the market in new directions and Samsung believes this is only the beginning of its innovations as pioneers in smart media devices."

With the launch this week of a £350 Android tablet from ViewSonic, and the expected release of a 7-inch update to Apple's iPad by the end of the year, the Galaxy is being pitched into a highly competitive market.

Samsung's 7-inch touchscreen device runs the latest version 2.2 of Google's Android operating system, and features built-in 3G, wi-fi and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity.

It's based around a 1GHz processor, and comes with storage options of up to 64GB.

A front-facing camera allows users to make face-to-face video calls over 3G, while there's 3-megapixel still camera at the rear.

Unlike the iPad, or its soon-to-be-released Mini-Me, the Galaxy will run Adobe Flash - and there's support for a range of video codecs for playback at up to Full HD, including the much-touted H.264.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab runs Flash too, and has the ability to play back Full HD video. Like the iPad it will be using a microSIM for connectivity, so expect a wave of telcos announcing they will be supporting the device soon.

Swype text input, ThinkFree document management and Zinio e-book reader software come as standard.

No UK release date or prices have been announced, but Samsung says the device should be available "in the coming months".