Samsung launches iPad 2 rival

 
Steve Dinneen
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SAMSUNG yesterday launched a thinner, lighter version of its Galaxy tablet in a bid to claw back market share from a rampant Apple.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 inch is an upgraded version of the 7-inch tablet introduced in October. It has a bigger, brighter screen and weighs less than the iPad 2. However, it has access to only about half the apps Apple that users do, at just over 200,000, compared with around 500,000 in the Apple App store.

It launched yesterday in Samsung’s home Korean market ahead of a 4 August UK release. It has not yet been priced in Europe.

Samsung says it wants to sell more than five times the number of tablets this year compared to 2010.

Samsung and Apple dominate the market, with lesser rivals including Research In Motion’s PlayBook, Motorola’s Xoom and Hewlett Packard’s recently launched TouchPad. Amazon also unveiled plans last week to join the crowded market.

Apple sold 14m iPads in the first half of this year, compared with analyst sales estimates of about 7.5m units for the Galaxy Tab over 2011.

Research firm Gartner forecasts the tablet market will surge to 108m devices next year from an estimated 70m in 2011.

Apple’s overall tablet market share is expected to shrink to below half in 2015 from an estimated 69 per cent this year, Gartner says.

Non-iPad tablet shipments are set to jump 134 per cent next year, outpacing the overall market growth rate of 80 per cent, according to Nomura.

Shares in Samsung closed up 3.5 per cent, boosting the market capitalisation of Asia’s most valuable technology company to about $130bn.