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A man takes a photograph of a woman with the Samsung Galaxy Tab at IFA, an electronics trade fair in Berlin. ((Gero Breloer/Associated Press))

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab, a competitor tablet computer to Apple's hit iPad, and it is shipping with some Canadian content: the Kobo e-reading application.

The South Korean company introduced the device on Thursday at IFA, the annual consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, and said it will be available in Europe in the next two weeks. A spokesperson for Samsung Canada said it will available here this year.

"The Samsung Galaxy Tab has been designed to enable consumers to maximize their online experience wherever that may be," said J.K. Shin, president and head of mobile communications at Samsung, in a statement. The device "is pushing the market in new directions and Samsung believes this is only the beginning of its innovations as pioneers in smart media devices."

The Galaxy Tab features a seven-inch touch-screen display and runs Google's Android 2.2 operating system. Unlike Apple's iPad and related products, the Galaxy is able to display websites that use Flash for multimedia features.

The device also has a three-megapixel camera that can shoot video as well as a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera that will allow for video chatting, both of which are features the iPad lacks. The Tab has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G wireless connectivity.

Samsung's device will also come with the Kobo e-reading application pre-installed, according to the Toronto-based company. Kobo is a joint venture between a number of book chains worldwide, including Borders in the United States, that is majority owned by Indigo Books & Music.

Kobo makes its own e-ink reader device, but also sells e-books through an app that is available for Apple products, Android devices and BlackBerry phones.

"This is a huge win for Kobo," wrote chief executive Michael Serbinis on the company's blog on Thursday.

"The Galaxy Tab is an amazing device and will be a real contender in the marketplace as consumers everywhere adopt tablets. To have been selected as THE e-reading application that powers the 'Readers Hub' on this device is simply incredible."

While the Kobo app will ship already installed on the Galaxy Tab, users will be able to install other Android e-reading apps, such as Amazon's Kindle.

The Galaxy Tab has been widely anticipated by technology watchers because it runs Google's Android software, which is proving to be the strongest competitor to Apple's iOS in the smartphone market.

Apple's iPad has been a big hit with consumers, with the company announcing in June that it had sold more than three million units in its first 80 days.

The iPad's success has paved the way for rival tablets. On Thursday, Toshiba also announced its own competitor at IFA, the Folio 100, which runs Android 2.2 as well.

The Folio, which Toshiba said would be available in Europe in the fourth quarter for about $530, features a 10-inch touch screen and a web cam for video callling, but it lacks the outward facing camera and the ability to shoot video.

Toshiba's device is launching with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability, but a 3G version won't be available until 2011, the company said.