Samsung to be strong rival to Apple in tablet market: analyst


TAIPEI — Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, the world’s second-largest cellphone maker, will be a strong rival to Apple Inc. and Taiwanese tablet computer makers in 2011, a local analyst said in a recent interview.

“Samsung will be a powerful competitor in the 2011 tablet market because of its cost-down production ability and its long-term cooperation with telecom carriers worldwide,” said Ryan Lee, a researcher at the Topology Research Institute (TRI).

Samsung’s first tablet computer the Galaxy Tab, with a 7-inch screen and the Android 2.2 operating system, will go on sale this month in Taiwan in partnership with Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile Co. and Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., while Apple has not yet launched its iPad in Taiwan.

In addition to the Android Marketplace, an online store for Android-based cellphone users to download software, Samsung has also provided users with similar services from its own applications store since 2009, which shows the company’s insight into the significance of developing mobile content, Lee added.

Although local tablet makers such as Acer Inc. and AsusTek Computer Inc. are good at reducing the cost of their products and are not targeting the high-end consumers Apple’s iPad is aimed at, Lee said, current local contenders do not yet offer content or applications that are sufficiently attractive.

Another Taiwanese vendor, First International Computer Inc. (FIC) — the latest entry into the market — which launched its first Windows based tablet earlier this week, has forecast that a total of 100,000 tablet computers will be sold in Taiwan next year, including Windows-based systems, Android-based systems and iPads.

But Lee said the license fees for using the Windows operating system, usually four to five times higher than the Android system, might lead to fewer Taiwanese computer makers being willing to use the Windows system for their tablets.