In the rapidly evolving world of tablet computers, it’s no surprise that Apple reigns supreme in terms of market share. Probably due to the fact that Steve Jobs practically invented the new market to begin with. It’s only been two years since Apple first released the iPad and the distant competition is doing its best to keep up. Samsung recently got a rude reminder of what it takes to beat the best.
In December of last year, Apple filed an injunction against Samsung related to their Galaxy Tab 10.1 device, arguing it violated Apple design patents and would infringe upon sales. Basically, Apple accused Samsung of being a copycat, and that “public interest weighs in favor of enforcing patent rights,” as opposed to favoring competition. It took around 7 months to wrap up the legal proceedings, and in the end, a U.S. District Court in California sided with Jobs & Co. Yesterday Samsung was ordered to relinquish sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 for good. Ouch.
Samsung argued to the court that design is only “one aspect of the overall product,” but received a cold shoulder. Anyone familiar with Apple and its cult following knows that the design of its new products is usually the selling point, and a poorly designed yet technologically superior product would largely be met with disinterest. The judge in this case agreed, stating that “design is an important driver in the demand for tablet sales.”
Poor Samsung tried to balance its potential losses against Apple’s in the case of revoking the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which is fairly reasonable given Apple’s 63% market share to Samsung’s 0.10% in mobile/tablet realm, but again to no avail. “Samsung cannot be heard to complain about broken business relationships that it has established on infringing products.” Double ouch.
Developed in cahoots with the Taiwanese tech folks at Asustek Computer Inc., the Nexus will boast a 7-inch screen (almost 3 inches smaller than the iPad) and will run new features of Android mobile software, reportedly named “Jellybean.” With a quad-core processor and nearly twice as much RAM (1GB to the iPad’s 512MB), Google may just have itself a solid competitor to the Apple juggernaut.
Best of all? The 8GB Nexus tablet is slated to premiere at $199, a full $200 less than Apple’s iPad2. The price difference gets even more impressive considering the 16GB Nexus, which still sits at an affordable $249 next to a $400 16GB iPad (3G coverage will cost you extra).
Time will tell if a cheaper and faster tablet can trump a wider-screened competitor with enormous brand loyalty, but as long as Google stays away from the revolutionary rounded-edge rectangle design of the iPad, they should be clear to compete.