It has three major benefits over the iPad.
- Consumers have choices of carriers: One of the reasons the Galaxy Tab was able to make these numbers so quickly was its availability on all four major carriers. Apple has no doubt made a mint in kickbacks and advertising support through its exclusive deal with AT&T (ATT), but the monogamy has brought about some serious baggage: Android phone ads now use the crippled AT&T network to dismiss the iPhone, the iPhone could be losing potential customers because of its one-carrier focus, and, just yesterday, Apple's network partner was rated the worse cell phone service by Consumer Reports.
- Manufacturers will look at the very rocky road Apple has had with AT&T and try to create less exclusive deals in the future. The Galaxy Tab numbers just provide more ammunition.
- The device has a relatively open platform: It's still unclear how successful apps are on the Galaxy Tab, but its Android environment symbolizes a greater movement towards open development versus a walled garden system. On Friday Barnes & Noble nook Color released a SDK, yet another Android development platform.
- Apple has the lucrative app store all to itself, but as a consequence, it doesn't give other companies the opportunities to use its platform to create their own devices. This is why there are so many Google (GOOG) Android tablets choices, and Apple consumers are still pining for an iPad 2.
- It is smaller and more portable: It may lack the iPad's relatively large 10-inch display, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab's 7 inches are the size most tablets will be aiming for in the future. First, if laptops were tablet's biggest comparison in 2010, e-readers will be the biggest adversary in 2011. The Amazon (AMZN) Kindle and the aforementioned nook will be serious discussion points in the coming months, particularly since Google itself just launched its Ebooks store. A mid-sized tablet is large enough to read but small enough to be as portable as the average one-note e-reader. Manufacturers, and consumers, will begin to take notice. (For months there have been rumors of a mini-iPad, sized at -- wait for it -- 7 inches.)