Seoul - Samsung Electronics' new tablet, unveiled in the United States, is the South Korean electronics giant's latest attempt to wrestle market share from Apple, but is not being heralded as an iPad killer.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet launches on Thursday in the United States, Britain and South Korea, just weeks before Samsung is expected to unwrap its revamped version of the original 5.3-inch Note smartphone.
Samsung, which Apple accuses of copying the design and some features of its iPad and iPhone, hopes the enlarged version of its popular phone-cum-tablet Note will resonate with consumers, and the device - with a stylus-type pen and split-screen feature - has picked up positive early reviews from tech bloggers.
That said, the price - $499 for 16 gigabytes of memory and WiFi-only, the same as the iPad - and competition from increasingly smart phones, have left analysts doubting the new device will see off the iPad.
"When you look at the price and overall consumer awareness about Samsung tablets, it's not likely to be a big success," said Park Young, an analyst at Woori Investment & Securities in Seoul. "Tablets are getting cheaper and even Apple is rumoured to be preparing a cheaper iPad. Consumers also tend not to spend much on tablets any more as smartphones can do most of the entertainment functions that tablets offer."
Samsung has been keen to differentiate the Note 10.1 from rival tablets, which are primarily used to consume media - highlighting the device's ability to personalise and create. At Wednesday's launch event in New York, "Moulin Rouge" movie director Baz Luhrmann and fashion designer Zac Posen were on hand to demonstrate how they use the S-Pen stylus in their work.
The Galaxy 10.1 is named after its screen size, which is slightly larger than the 9.7-inch iPad, and has impressed with a split-screen feature that allows users to have two apps active side-by-side.
Samsung hopes the bigger version of the original Galaxy Note, which has sold more than 10 million units since its October launch, can help it narrow the gap with Apple in tablet markets, where it remains a distant second to the Cupertino, California-based firm.
Apple sold 28.8 million iPads in January-June, giving it 64.4% of the market, well ahead of Samsung's 9.9% market share, according to research firm IHS iSuppli.
The Note 10.1 uses Google's Android software and a quad-core processor with 1.4 GHz clock speed. It boasts a 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera, which also detects the user's eye movements to prevent the device from going into standby mode.
The 32 GB model will sell for $549, versus iPad's $599.
A US judge on Wednesday asked for the chief executives of Apple and Samsung to speak to each other before a jury begins deliberating next week in the high-stakes patent trial between the two tech titans. The two firms have gone toe-to-toe in a multi-billion dollar patents dispute mirroring a struggle for industry supremacy between two companies that together control half the global smartphone market.
In Seoul on Thursday, Samsung shares were flat at 1.345 million won ($1 200) in a market down 0.1%. Shares in Apple closed down 0.1% on Nasdaq on Wednesday.
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