updated 07:25 pm EST, Sun February 12, 2012
Samsung tablets outsold by Apple in home turf
Industry insider estimates have claimed that the iPad 2 has reached the million-unit sales mark in South Korea. The milestone came after a late November 2010 launch and 700,000 iPads shipped just in 2011, leaving the remaining 300,000 to have been sold in two and a half months' time, the Korea Herald said. That number could be higher, Korean media thought, since many had bought iPads even before official approval.
About two thirds of the iPads were Wi-Fi versions, implying that carriers' offers to subsidize the 3G version weren't having a disproportionate effect in the country versus elsewhere. Lower prices and adequate reach for Wi-Fi have typically made it the most popular choice.
The tally, although unlikely to be confirmed by Apple, could symbolize the lack of traction Android tablets have had both in South Korea and worldwide. Apple is believed to have between 70 to 80 percent of the tablet market in Korea despite it being the home for two of the largest Android tablet supporters, LG and Samsung. Both are used to largely dominating local electronics and typically control smartphones, but if true would have just a minority stake even with the marketing pressure they can exert in the area.
Some evidence may come through Samsung's own silence. Despite being eager to tout numerical milestones for virtually any product it makes, Samsung has never said how many units of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, or any other Android tablet beyond the original Galaxy Tab, it has shipped or sold. NPD data for the US has had it outsold by HP in 2011 while LG's G-Slate (Optimus Pad) didn't register in the top five non-iPad tablets that year.
Korean manufacturers may not necessarily see a change. Samsung may have an upgraded Galaxy Tab at Mobile World Congress late this month, but with its necessary processor not shipping until significantly into the spring, it could ship well after the rumored iPad 3 launch in March. Android 4.0 is also a comparatively mild update for tablets and doesn't improve most of the problem areas, such as OS complexity, interface performance, and a shortage of tablet-optimized apps.