Samsung is taking on Apple and Microsoft in the premium tablet stakes, unveiling a wannabe laptop replacement – the Galaxy Book.
Vying for a slice of a market dominated by the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface, the device is a full PC running Windows 10 and comes with a keyboard and stylus.
The announcement, along with an updated model of its flagship Tab 3 at Mobile World Congress, is a lower key affair for the Korean electronics giant than in previous years.
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The tablets filled in for an absent flagship smartphone as the Galaxy S8 is expected to be unveiled later in the year, while the brand is still recovering from the disastrous Galaxy Note 7 fallout.
The Galaxy Book boasts HDR video, a 13 and five megapixel camera on front and back respectively, comes in 12 inch and 10.6 inch sizes and goes on sale in March.
“Our new tablet portfolio is built with premium technology that delivers a productive and versatile experience to consumers, designed for users at home, work or on the go,” said Samsung president of mobile communications business, DJ Koh.
The general tablet market is in decline with buyers upgrading less frequently than they do with smartphones. 175m were shipped in 2016, down 16 per cent on the previous year, according to analysts at IDC. Apple took the biggest share at 24 per cent, but down 14.2 per cent on the previous year, and Samsung second with a 15 per cent share, down 21 per cent.
But, so-called detachable tablets, hybrids or 2-in1s – those with keyboards and power more akin with a PC – are set for positive growth.
A slight dampening in the last quarter of the year is expected to be temporary with plenty of opportunity with only two main players, and "as the ecosystems are further refined with future updates and developer support," said IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani in the firm’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Tracker published earlier this month.
Both smartphone makers and notebook manufacturers are expected to take on the device category this year.
Microsoft launched its original Surface tablet in 2012, with several models since, while Apple unveiled its iPad Pro with “desktop-class performance” in late 2015.
While Samsung is taking on tablet rivals, it is facing increasing competition in the smartphone world. Several rival handset makers are launching high-profile handsets at the technology show in Barcelona this week, piling additional pressure on its next smartphone launch.