Samsung banks on Android for tablet success

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Samsung Electronics will depend on Google's Android mobile-device software to run future versions of its tablet computers, a senior Samsung official said in an interview.

"We'll continue to work with Android on future tablets," J.K. Shin, head of the South Korean giant's mobile division, told The Wall Street Journal.

Samsung Electronics is the world's second-largest cellphone maker after Finland's Nokia but trails Apple's iPhone and iPad in smartphones and tablets.

However, the Android system has boosted its smartphone business and Samsung hopes to do the same with tablets.

The iPad surprised competitors with the success of its launch early last year. Samsung responded by choosing Android for its tablets and introduced the seven-inch Galaxy Tab in October 2010 to take on Apple.

Samsung has launched new versions of the Galaxy Tab - an 8.9-inch (that will go on sale in New Zealand later this year) and a 10.1-inch model (about to launch here). Both run the latest version of Android, known as Honeycomb.

Despite Apple's status as a major customer for Samsung components, the two companies are embroiled in lawsuits.

The US firm sued its South Korean rival, claiming it copied the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad. Samsung launched its own suits, alleging that Apple violated patents covering Samsung's cellphone transmission technologies.

"We didn't copy Apple's design," Shin told The Wall Street Journal.

"We have used many similar designs over the past years and it (Apple's allegation) will not be legally problematic."

Samsung expects its tablet shipments to rise about fivefold this year to 7.5 million. Market data provider IHS iSuppli forecast in April that Apple's iPad shipments would reach 39.7 million this year.

"Android is the fastest-growing platform and the market direction is headed toward Android so we're riding the wave," said Younghee Lee, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

- AFP

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