news Korean electronics giant Samsung today claimed victory in its patent court battle against iPad manufacturer Apple and confirmed plans to launch its Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet before Christmas through a variety of Australian retailers.
Apple first filed suit against Samsung to block the launch of the Galaxy Tab in Australia in early August. However, after quite a few months of back and forth action, the High Court today refused a request from Apple which would have seen it able to appeal a move by the Federal Court allowing the Galaxy Tab to be sold.
“Samsung Electronics Australia is pleased with today’s judgment by the High Court of Australia to deny Apple’s request to appeal the decision of the Full Court,” the company said in a statement. “The Full Court of Australia decision on November 30 clearly affirmed our view that Apple’s claims lack merit and that an injunction should not have been imposed on the GALAXY Tab 10.1.”
Samsung said it was pleased to announce that the “highly anticipated” Galaxy Tab 10.1 would be available in stores “in time for the Christmas shopping period”, selling for a recommended retail price of $579 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version of the tablet, and a RRP of $729 for the 3G-enabled 16GB version. The tablet will be available from retailers including Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, the Good Guys, Myer, Bing Lee and OfficeWorks.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is seen as one of the main current competitors to Apple’s iPad 2 tablet, which has been on sale in Australia for the majority of 2011. Apple’s iPad range dominates the Australian market for tablets, with existing rivals such as Motorola’s Xoom, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook and the Acer Iconia Tab believed to have stolen only modest market share percentages from Apple over the past year.
Like several of the other Android tablets available at the moment, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a 10.1″ device with a touchscreen running at a resolution of 1280×800. Its CPU is a 1GHz dual core NVIDIA Tegra 2 model, and it comes with version 3.1 (Honeycomb) of Google’s Android platform.
The 3G version supports the HSPA standard up to 21Mbps, compatible with all of Australia’s major mobile networks, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes with three megapixel rear and two megapixel front cameras. It can record 720p HD video. The device weighs 565g.
This victory for Samsung is pretty much a common sense one, in my view. Regardless of Apple’s no doubt extensive patent portfolio, competition in the tablet space is a good thing, especially when you’ve got one company currently dominating the entire scene with a market share which I personally believe is something between 80 and 90 percent in Australia.
However, I don’t expect the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to make much of a splash in Australia.
For starters, the tablet shares almost all of its specifications with other tablets such as the Xoom and the Iconia Tab. Those devices have been on the market for many months now, and have, by all accounts, sold pretty poorly. Are there any Australian consumers who have been hanging out for six months waiting for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to ship? Uh, no. There aren’t. The overwhelming majority of those consumers have bought an iPad, a PlayBook, another Android tablet or even a HP TouchPad by now.
Then there’s the price.
Frankly, why would you buy a 3G Samsung Galaxy Tab for $729, when you could buy a 3G Motorola Xoom for $300 cheaper from Kogan? It’s virtually the same hardware. It’s the same operating system. It’s the same 3G connectivity. But it’s almost half the price. Even JB Hi-Fi is selling the 32GB 3G version of the Xoom for $644. Are you going to pay $85 more for a device just because it’s Samsung? I don’t think so.
Then there’s the fact that the next batch of tablets is already on its way. The iPad 3 is now strongly rumoured for early 2012. The Motorola Xoom 2 has already been announced. Hell, even Samsung itself is rumoured to be introducing a hot new tablet early in 2012 with a screen similar to the ‘Retina Display’ on Apple’s iPhone 4 and 4S.
This is the reality which Samsung is facing. Even though it has undoubtedly gotten some publicity through Apple’s lawsuit against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, even though the tablet is probably among the best of the iPad rivals in Australia at the moment, even though it will be distributed widely, and most of all, even though Samsung won its lawsuit, that doesn’t mean the tablet will actually sell.
I wouldn’t buy it. Would you?
Image credit: Samsung