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Galaxy Tab 7.7 Comes to Verizon on Thursday

Verizon Wireless said on Tuesday that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 will be available for purchase both online and at its brick-and-mortar stores starting Thursday, March 1. It will cost a meaty subsidized $499.99 with a new two-year customer agreement, and requires a 4G LTE mobile broadband data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2 GB of data.

Compared to the Amazon Kindle Fire and its unsubsidized $199 pricetag, Verizon's asking price is just crazy. Yet there's more than a few hamsters running the show underneath the Galaxy Tab's 7.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus display (1280 x 800). Packed with Android 3.2 "Honeycomb," the tablet features a 1.4 GHz dual-core SoC, a 3.2MP rear-facing camera (LED flash, full 720p recording and 1080p playback), a 2MP front-facing camera, 16 GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot for expanding up to an additional 32 GB.

"The Tab 7.7 is a multimedia expert allowing customers to use their tablet as the center of their home entertainment system," Verizon said. "The Peel Smart Remote feature eliminates the need for multiple remote controls for televisions, audio players and other home entertainment systems. Customers can make their Tab 7.7 the master controller to find and watch their favorite TV shows, create a favorites list, set program reminders and more. Customers also have the ability to stream media to their compatible TV using the HDMI Multimedia Dock with a built-in HDMI port or the HDTV Adapter (sold separately). The Samsung Media Hub offers a large selection of media to rent or purchase and watch while traveling or plug into a TV to share at a party."

The Tab 7.7 lets customers share their 4G LTE connection with up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices simultaneously. It's also Samsung Approved for Enterprise (SAFE), meaning that it's equipped with a suite of security features that deliver enterprise-friendly capabilities to help safeguard sensitive data and communications, including Mobile Device Management (MDM), on-device Encryption, Virtual Private Network (VPN) and push synchronization of corporate email, calendar and contacts.

According to the specs, the Tab 7.7 has 1 GB of RAM, a 5,100mAh battery (up to 10 hours of video playback), dual speakers, A-GPS & GLONASS, a 30-pin dock connector port, an accelerometer and more. Installed applications include QuickOffice Pro HD and Samsung Hub. A full list of specs can be located here.

Is $499.99 for a 7.7-inch tablet, chained to a new two-year contract, asking too much? Would consumers be better off purchasing a laptop instead?