Pakistan is a growing market for first-tier technology firms and Korean technology giant Samsung is doing everything possible to build up brand recognition here. The company plans to officially release its first tablet computer in the country on November 20, according to its corporate representative, Rabiya Siddiqui.
Samsung Galaxy Tab runs the Android, Google’s free operating system – which has edged out Apple and RIM operating systems (OSs) to take the top spot in US OS sales over the past six months, according to analysts.
Although other tablets like Apple’s iPad and Dell’s Streak are available in the market, they have not been officially released in the country and their products are sold through resellers. ‘Officially’ in the sense that you will be able to get technical support for the Tab at local Samsung centres.
Samsung has already successfully launched its Android phone in Pakistan and now it might just have the early mover advantage by releasing its tablet – touted to be the frontline of the Android’s assault on the iPad – ahead of Apple.
David Pogue, New York Times tech columnist says the Tab might just give the iPad a run for its money. Admitting that it does have a few bugs, he is optimistic they will be ironed out with the next software release.
Tablet computers like Apple’s iPad marked a milestone in the world of tablet computing and are presumably the next logical step in the evolution of the computer as they allow you to do almost everything that a laptop can.
Sales of low-cost, low-powered computing devices fell off a cliff in January due to the introduction and subsequent launch of the iPad, according to Morgan Stanley research analyst, Kate Huberty.
In support of her claim that iPad was killing off netbooks and laptops, she presented a survey conducted in collaboration with Alphawise during March which found that 44 per cent of US consumers who were planning to buy an iPad said that they were purchasing it instead of a netbook or notebook computer.
This is not a standalone trend, International Data Corporation (IDC), a respected market research and analysis firm, reported that global shipments of smartphones had been growing faster than sales of laptop computers.
It also pointed out that smartphones as a percentage of mobile phone shipments worldwide had also been increasing steadily over the past six years.
The Galaxy Tab itself has been very well reviewed. Almost everyone has good things to say about it, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Engadget, which said: “For Samsung’s part we think the company has set the gold standard for Android tablets.”
Now that Apple’s competitors have seen that the tablet is something that people want, they seem to be mimicking its basic points and trying to take on the company that introduced the concept. Moreover, it seems they are willing to take whatever advantages they can get, for example stooping to introduce their products in developing countries – a venture that probably will not be very profitable.
The important thing that needs to be understood is that representing a challenge to the iPad is all that should matter. Very few tablets, if any at all, measure up to Apple’s game changer because the iPad managed to take a relegated niche concept and make it usable and marketable – the tech graveyard is littered with the bones of unsuccessful tablet concepts that died because they were not what the people wanted.
In essence, the Galaxy Tab represents the first real option for those looking to buy something other than an iPad – at least in Pakistan. Because let’s all be honest, all we ever wanted was a choice. Would you like it if every television set was the same size?
The only other tablet contender available, the Dell Streak, is still officially stuck at Android 1.6 – which is like running Windows 95 on the latest computer available.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2010.
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