We've talked before about the difficulties faced by first-gen tablets born in a post-iPad 2 world, but one leading manufacturer may soon be able to give Apple a run for its money with a second generation tablet of its own. Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Tab 10.1, unveiled at CTIA earlier today, is expected to be thinner and more powerful than the iPad 2 while being sold at exactly the same price point.

Back when the new iPad was first announced, it was Samsung who made waves in the technology press by acknowledging the game changing implications of the iPad 2 and vowing to revisit "inadequicies" in their own line of tablets. It looks like they were serious, because the Galaxy Tab 10.1 shown off at CTIA is significantly thinner than earlier prototypes of the same tablet and bests the iPad 2 by one tenth of an inch. The new version is so new that a working model was not even available for show, with Samsung relying on earlier, chubbier versions of the tablet to show off its software.

If the new Tab 10.1 can retain the specs we heard about in the older prototype, namely the 8 megapixel / 2 megapixel rear and front cameras, dual core tegra 2 processor and 1 GB of RAM, it could come out leaner and meaner than the iPad 2, at least on paper. And at a $499 entry price for the 16gb wifi-only model, consumers will at least have to consider their options when staring at the two tablets sitting next to each other at Best Buy.

The original Galaxy Tab that came out last year was only 7 inches and ran Android Gingerbread, not the tablet-ready Honeycomb that has proven so vital for many tabs to be competitive. But this time around, Samsung is working hard to make sure it has all of its ducks in a row before launch. The Tab 10.1 features Honeycomb with Samsung's own custom UI, TouchWiz 4, which hopefully won't detract from the favored Google Experience. The South Korean company will also release an 8.9 inch version of the tablet to compete with tweener tabs like the HTC Flyer or View. Both will hit stores this summer on June 8th.

[CNET, Engadget]