* Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet on sale in U.S., UK, South Korea
* Uses stylus-type S-Pen, split-screen function
* Price point similar to rival Apple's iPad
* Samsung shares flat in Seoul
By Miyoung Kim and Paul Sandle
SEOUL/LONDON, Aug 16 Samsung Electronics
launched its new Galaxy Note tablet in three major
markets on Thursday, hoping that a stylus-type pen and
split-screen function will stand the new device apart from rival
Apple Inc's iPad.
The company, facing accusations that it copied the design
and some features of Apple's iPad and iPhone, said the Galaxy
Note 10.1 would be a "game changer" from rival tablets, on which
users usually only view one application at a time.
The device can have two apps active on a split-screen, while
an 'S-Pen' seeks to solve tablet and smart-phones' sometimes
clunky keyboard and input functions by allowing users to write
and sketch on the screen.
Analysts, however, were sceptical of its ability to make
inroads into Apple's huge lead in the tablet market given plans
to price it at $499 for 16 gigabytes of memory and WiFi-only -
the same as 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
"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."
Marc Chacksfield, deputy editor at British tech website
TechRadar, said that, while the new tablet had some positive
features, it felt cheaper in the hand than the iPad and might
not win buyers over if priced similarly to the Apple product.
"Couple this with an influx of low-priced Android tablets
entering the market (headed up by the Google Nexus 7)
and Samsung may struggle to compete," he said in an email to
A jury begins deliberating next week in a high-stakes patent
trial launched by Apple against the South Korean firm.
Ben Wood, head of research at analysts CCS Insight in
London, said the S-Pen was Samsung's big bet on differentiating
its tablets from Apple's.
"It's an area where we expect them to put a huge amount of
focus, some of that will be as a result of Samsung's desire to
show it is a company that innovates in the light of all the
negative publicity from the litigation," he said.
The U.S. debut of the Galaxy Note 10.1, which uses Google's
Android software, comes just three months after the second
version of Samsung's flagship Galaxy Tab 10.1 went on sale in
May. Samsung is also expected to unveil a tablet running on
Microsoft's new Windows operating system within months.
While Apple has a single 9.7-inch iPad, Samsung's line-up
includes products of different sizes - from 7.7 inches to 10.1 -
while late last year it created the hybrid phone-cum-tablet, or
phablet, category with the 5.3-inch Note, which has sold more
than 10 million units since October.
A revamped version of the Note smartphone is expected to be
unwrapped in Berlin later this month.
Apple sold 28.8 million iPads in January-June, giving it
64.4 percent of the market, according to one industry estimate.
Samsung sold 4.4 million tablets for a 9.9 percent market share.
The new Note 10.1 features a quad-core processor with 1.4
GHz clock speed, 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.
In Seoul on Thursday, Samsung shares closed unchanged at
1.345 million won ($1,200) in a market down 0.05
percent. Shares in Apple closed down 0.1 percent on Nasdaq on