Samsung’s Galaxy Tab goal set at one million

As the most critical iPad rival to date and a very important device for Samsung, the Galaxy Tab needs to sell well if it is to stand on its own when all is said and done. If it sells a million units in the next two months, that might do it, and that’s exactly what Samsung is forecasting.

If it reaches a million units by the end of the year, that will almost be exactly one-half the pace of the iPad when it came out over the summer. Apple’s gadget managed to hit sales of two million in about 60 days.

The Galaxy Tab will officially launch next Wednesday through T-Mobile stores. Verizon will begin selling its version of the device the following day. For an Android tablet, it’s gotten a lot of coverage. A couple other fly-by-night tablets have come and gone with hardly any fanfare.

But there’s one crippling factor with the Tab: it’s price. The retail face price is $600, which puts it exactly in the same range as the iPad. T-Mobile will offer a $400 discounted price to anyone who signs up for two years of service on it, but Verizon isn’t providing subsidies at all.

If you go out on the street and ask people if they’d rather have an iPad or a Galaxy Tab, the results would most certainly be skewed to the former. Samsung knows this and tries not to mention anything about price when it talks aboout the Tab.

Nevertheless, the Android user base is huge. It’s bigger than the iPhone’s. The operating system clearly has its following, and the Tab is the first real, ultimate option for a multimedia tablet for consumers who dislike Apple.

It also has some other things going for it – it has USB support, the memory is expandable, and it can multi-task just like Android on phones. Samsung also touts its one-handed operation for subway riding “straphangers” or people who need an extra hand for something else.

Of course, the other draw is that every Galaxy Tab has 3G support, and it is completely carrier agnostic. Once the release rollout is complete, you’ll be able to buy a Tab at any of the major mobile carriers. The iPad currently restricts 3G access to AT&T owners. That may soon change, though…