For all Samsung tablet fans, the long wait is over as the much delayed Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 has finally hit retail shelves in the US. The Korean giant launched the tablet back at the Mobile World Congress held in February and then the company promised to release the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 in the market around March.

However it got delayed and now finally the tablet is for sale. The 7-incher can now be purchased in the US from Amazon and the surprise package is its price. With the unveiling of Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, the company has thrown an open challenge to all the market shares of Kindles and Nooks. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is available at $249.99 offering 8GB storage, running ICS out of the box and featuring pretty decent tech specs.

Sporting a 7-inch multi-touch screen with 1024 x 600 pixels resolution, the successor of the Galaxy Tab 7 is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor and features 1 GB of RAM. Other features of the tablets include 8 GB of on-board memory, a micro SD card slot, a 3 MP rear-facing shooter, a VGA front-facing camera, as well as a 4,000 mAh battery, USB 2.0 and Bluetooth 3.0. The Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 might also draw your attention to its elegant design, featuring a slim but robust casing (a 0.41 inches thick metal body).

Well, that surely makes the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 one of the cheapest tablets to run the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version. At this decent price tag, it is also an interesting competitor to the likes of the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes and Noble Nook tablet.

The Amazon Kindle Fire runs on an older version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS with 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP4 processor and 8GB of internal memory storage and also has only 512MB RAM. Further it lacks an expandable memory option, camera and 3G connectivity as well.

However, before coming to any conclusion, one has to note that wireless communication vendors, including Amazon and Apple, have created a buzz in the industry and are anticipated to saturate the tablet market with their powerful line-up devices at low costs.

Taking a pick from the latest rumors swirling in the media, let's check out the most anticipated tablets expected to hit the market in the near future with promising features, which can pose a threat to this new rival entrant in the market.

Amazon's New Kindle Fire 2 (Rumored price: $199-$299)

Right now, industry analysts have claimed Amazon Kindle Fire as the second-highest selling tablet in the market, after Apple's iPad and, if the reports are to be believed, the major online retailer is working on three new models of its Kindle Fire tablets, which includes one with high resolution. There are reports that this high resolution tablet might give a tough fight to all the expensive tablets, including the new iPad 3.

A recent report also claimed that chassis-maker Catcher Technology received orders from Amazon for a new Kindle Fire tablet. If the reports turn out to be true, production of the next-generation Kindle should be just around the corner.

Reports further suggested that the company is working on launching higher versions of 7-inch tablets with improved resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels display at 215ppi. Along with better 7-inch tablet, the company is working on 8.9-inch Amazon tablet that will be very close to Apple iPad 3's screen resolution with 1920 x 1200 pixels at 250ppi. As Amazon has already made a huge impact on the tablet market, no one can brush aside the company's plans of flooding the market with better tablets at affordable price tags. Amazon's new Kindle Fire, set to be launched in the third quarter, is expected to be priced around $199-299.

Google Nexus Tablet (Rumored price: $199 - $249)

According to a recent report by Verge, Google is developing a Nexus tablet with ASUS which would run on Android 4.0 slate and would be available at a price of $249. Firstly, the tablet was rumored to launch in May, however, the latest Verge report mentions that it will come out sometime around July of this year.

Though earlier reports indicated that Google was aiming for something in the region of $149 to $199, so as to be particularly competitive with not only Apple's iPad line-up but also budget Android alternatives such as the $199 NOOK Tablet.

The New York Times reports that Nvidia's head honcho Jen-Hsun Huang has indicated that the company is working on lowering the cost of its latest Tegra 3 processors. He hinted that Android tablets will go for $199 by the second half of the year.

Currently, the Nexus tablet's specifications are believed to include a 7-inch display, potentially running at 1280 x 800 resolution, a jump from the more typical 1024 x 600, along with NVIDIA's Tegra 3 chipset and WiFi connectivity, though without cellular modem. Ice Cream Sandwich is the OS, the first version of Android specifically designed to run on both phones and tablets.

Apple's iPad Mini (Rumored price: $249-$299)

Apple brought to the world the first Retina display tablet, the New iPad, and now it is in news once again. Not just for its most-awaited next iPhone flagship model but also for the next Apple tablet. Yes, rumored the iPad Mini, the 7-inch tablet is expected to hit the market sometime in the third quarter of 2012.

Rumors about this mini tablet cranked out when a report from Macotakara suggested that the Apple was developing a mysterious device with a 5-inch high resolution (Retina) display. Further, the report also noted that the device was believed to have a resolution of 1,600 X960 pixels or 1,280 X960 pixels and is expected to hit markets sometime in 2013.

However, recent reports from a Chinese portal have been spreading all over the media that six million iPad Mini devices will be released in the tablet market in the third quarter of this year. Also the report from NetEase, translated by Kotaku, mentioned that the mini iPad will sell for $249-$299. This rumor was co-related to a report from Mashable, which claimed that Samsung was supplying Apple with new LCD technology for smaller iPads.

The rumored features of Apple's iPad Mini suggest it will have a 7.86-inch screen with Retina display and a 1,024 x 768 pixel display. Further, features of the next iPad may include a possible 3G connectivity, iOS 6 and a better Siri.

So, do you think you will go for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 or would you rather wait for Amazon, Google and Apple's 7-inch low cost tablet releases? Do share your thoughts in comments.