The battle over the tablet market is about to start with Korean giant Samsung readying its first tablet, the Galaxy Tab.

The new 7-inch tablet device was announced in Sydney overnight with an Australian price tag of $999 for the basic 16GB version, putting it $300 dearer than the larger 10-inch WiFi-only Apple iPad with the same storage.

The Galaxy tab features a 1024×600-pixel notebook-size screen and will be powered by a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor with PowerVR SGX540 graphics and run Google’s Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system.

Tablet devices have begun arriving in the country thanks to a raft of smaller players, including Pioneer Computers, but with a number of big name brands being reported in the Sydney Morning Herald as preparing new models, including Dell, Cisco, Acer, Asus, RIM and Lenovo, store shells will likely be awash with tablets by the end of the year.

Weighing in at 380grams, the Galaxy Tab will weigh just over half the Apple iPad and feature a 4000mAh Lithium-ion battery.

News Ltd is reporting that the device will be available with a range of Australian newspapers and magazines. Samsung also has a deal with book retailer Borders for its ebook application to be available on the device at launch.

The Galaxy Tab is expected to go on sale in Australia in mid-November.

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