There has been a recent trend of carriers selling Wi-Fi versions of tablets that do not support the respective carrier network, or any cellular data network. It began with Verizon offering the first-generation iPad in late 2010, helpfully bundling it with a Verizon Mi-Fi mobile hotspot. Now, the trend has spread to Honeycomb tablets, with Sprint now offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and U.S. Cellular selling the Wi-Fi Motorola Xoom.
U.S. Cellular, which also offers and supports the data-enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab, is selling the Xoom for $600, which is the same price the Wi-Fi Honeycomb tablet has retailed for since launch on March 27.
Want a U.S. Cellular data connection with that Xoom? Well, current U.S. Cellular customers on in luck because with an additional $25 per month data plan, the Xoom can tether to supported smartphones.
Sprint Tab 10.1
Sprint is also getting into the Wi-Fi tablet game. The WiMAX carrier already sells the Wi-Fi BlackBerry PlayBook (though has a WiMAX 4G PlayBook in the works), and now also offers the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Beginning June 24, the latest Honeycomb tablet to hit the market hits Sprint.com and retail outlets for $500, or exactly the same price as everywhere else. Sprint makes no mention of tethering options in a press release announcing the tablet’s availability, but helpfully suggests pairing it with one of its 3G/4G mobile hotspots.
Sprint currently supports the Samsung Galaxy Tab and HTC EVO View 4G tablets. Expect reviews of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and EVO View 4G in the coming days on TabletPCReview.