Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the biggest mobile-phone maker, introduced its first tablet that can run both Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Windows 8 and applications based on Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software.
The ATIV Q tablet will let users share files between Windows 8 and Android applications, Samsung said at an event to unveil the new device in London yesterday. The hinged device also has a keyboard that lets the tablet operate like a laptop.
Samsung is chipping away at Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s dominance in tablet devices, touting rival operating systems as it mimics the strategy that made it the most popular mobile-phone maker. Shipments of Samsung tablets, No. 2 to Apple, more than tripled in the first quarter from a year earlier, giving the Suwon, South Korea-based company 18 percent of the market, according to a May report from researcher IDC. Apple, with about 40 percent of the market, saw shipments rise 65 percent.
“These tablets are the result of people-centric innovation, and they were designed to provide consumers the flexibility to manage their digital lives on their terms whether they are in the office, at home or on the go,” said DJ Lee, Samsung’s head of sales and marketing for mobile. The event, hosted by Jason Bradbury of the U.K. television program “The Gadget Show,” also featured vocal performances from Emeli Sande and Will.i.am.
Tablets, which are touchscreen computers that occupy a space between laptops and smartphones, are expected to surpass shipments of personal computers by 2015, researcher IDC said in a report last month. Tablet shipments will grow 45 percent from this year to 332.4 million as PCs decline.
Apple’s iPad started the boom when the device was released in 2010. Cheaper alternatives to the iPad, which is priced from $399, will drive wider adoption, IDC said. Cupertino, California-based Apple began selling the iPad Mini last year, which is priced from $329 on the company’s website.
Samsung also introduced the ATIV Tab 3, which it’s billing as the thinnest Windows 8 tablet, at approximately the thickness of a smartphone, with a 10-hour battery life. In the Galaxy line, they premiered the Galaxy NX camera, which can connect to 4G and runs on Android, allowing access to applications like mail, music and maps.
On the PC side, Samsung debuted three new computers under the ATIV label, its brand for devices that use the Windows 8 operating system. The ATIV Book 9 Plus has a high definition screen and 12 hours of battery life while the ATIV Book 9 Lite will be a scaled back version that “targets a larger consumer base,” Samsung said.
The company also introduced a desktop PC, the One 5 Style, with a high-definition touchscreen. The PC also acts as a hub for users’ content across a number of devices in the home, letting users back up and share music and videos.
Microsoft introduced Windows 8, a reworked version of its flagship operating system, to tablet users as it confronts the slump in PC sales. Microsoft has also released its own tablet, Surface, which has struggled to gain market share against Apple and Samsung.
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