Samsung may have two tablets too many in its portfolio after it launched the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Tab 7.7 at IFA last week; these two are likely to make the original 7-inch Tablet and the slightly bigger Tab 8.9 all but obsolete.
Both the Note and the 7.7 Tab share the same hardware, except for the rear camera which is an eight megapixel model for the former and a three megapixel for the latter (plus the Tab 7.7 uses Honeycomb and the Note Gingerbread). These crucial differences mean that Samsung considers the Note to be closer to a smartphone while the Tab 7.7 will be its tablet alter ego.
The retirement of the 7-inch Galaxy Tab seems to be understandable given that it is more than one year old, and we wouldn't be surprised if Samsung does the same thing for the GT8.9 which was introduced at the same time as the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 but was never launched (at least not in the UK).
Expansys is currently taking preorders for it at £585 which is ludicrously expensive given that a similar Galaxy Tab 10.1 costs nearly £200 less. We suspect that Samsung's tablet portfolio is still fluid as the manufacturer explores various form factors and combinations.
This could explain why Samsung has decided to launch the pair next year rather than now; there are still stocks of the old Galaxy Tab and possibly, of the new GT8.9 which need to be cleared out first.