As much as we love to wave the Apple flag, we have to admire Samsung’s focus on preventing Cupertino from letting the iPad do to tablets what the iPod did to mp3 players. Case in point, after seeing just how thin the iPad 2 was, Samsung publicly acknowledged their 10-inch Galaxy Tab simply wasn’t good enough, and said they were going back to the drawing board. We expected something to emerge from the Korean tech giant’s brain trust later this summer as a result, but instead it took them less than a month to show the world they aren’t out of the fight yet. To learn more, keep reading on the next page.

This new iteration of the Android 3.0 honeycomb tablet will be available in two sizes of 10.1-inches and 8.9-inches. Both will be .33-inches thick, which is barely thinner than the iPad 2’s .34-inch girth. The 10.1 will also weigh 1.31 pounds, while the 8.9 inch will tip the scales at 1.03 pounds. Internally, the bigger option packs the same powerful specs it did before like a 1280 x 768 multitouch screen, a dual-core 1GHs NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset, a micro SD slot, and a front-facing 2 megapixel camera with a backside 3 MP LED flash companion. We assume the 8.9 version will share the same specs, minus the screen resolution. The tablets will also ship with either 16 or 32GB of internal memory, in either Wifi only or 3G formats, although there’s no word yet on who Samsung will partner with on the carrier front to provide wireless data. In case it wasn’t clear enough who they view as enemy numero uno, the 10.1 tablet’s price is pegged right on par with the iPad 2, while the 8.9-inch will undercut it. The 10.1-inch model will launch June 8th, but Samsung is coy on its smaller brother, and only vaguely mentioned expecting it “early this summer.” Whether their work will be enough to make the so-called post P.C. era an actual fight remains up to your wallets to decide, but it’s certainly clarified for us who now leads the pack in the wild west of Android tablet hardware. Now just sit back, relax and wait for the overly nerdy ad campaigns to start bombarding.

Pricing: 10.1-inch Wifi Only ($499 16GB), ($599 32GB) | 8.9-inch Wifi Only ($469 16GB), ($569 32GB)