Market Insight

Samsung puts fresh focus on tablets at Mobile World Congress

February 26, 2017

Rhoda Alexander Rhoda Alexander Director, Tablets and PCs

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With competitors such as Huawei and Amazon gaining share in the value portion of the tablet market, Samsung is recommitting to its higher performance units, which offer better profit margins and opportunities to enhance the brand. Samsung launched two new tablets at Mobile World Congress, an updated Galaxy Tab S3 and the Galaxy Book 2-in-1. Both products build on earlier models, with fresh design elements.

The Android based, 9.7-inch, Galaxy Tab S3, like its predecessor, features a QXGA, 9.7-inch Super AMOLED display but this model sports a glass back with its metal frame. The unit is HDR ready, through its mobile Digital Natural Image engine (mDNIe) and it incorporates quad speakers, tuned by AKG. The quad speakers’ output auto-rotates to accommodate landscape or portrait viewing and battery life and frame rate per second (FPS) are both substantially improved from that of the S2.

Options include a linked keyboard and a new, improved 0.7mm, rubber tipped, S-Pen, which no longer requires a battery.  Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, the Tab S3 is cellular network (LTE) capable for connectivity on the move.

Enhancements warranted new naming structure

The Samsung Galaxy Book is a new, much improved version of the Galaxy Tab Pro S, with enough enhancements to warrant a new naming structure. The 12.0-inch, 2,160 x 1,440, AMOLED screen is familiar but this model now features 8 GB of RAM, double that of the Tab Pro S, and a redesigned, backlit keyboard, with a larger mousepad and more space to rest one’s palms when typing.

The keyboard connection has been revamped, making it easier to shift from slate to connected and back again. With longer battery life (reportedly 10 hours) and expandable storage, the unit ships with keyboard and S-Pen in the box, as part of the standard package. For users wanting cellular connectivity, a single click on Samsung Flow enables hot spot capability for those with a Samsung phone.

Samsung’s unit shipments dropped 17.1% - refocus on higher performance units

Like most of its competitors, Samsung has seen its tablet sales erode in recent years, as larger smartphones have pushed into tablet territory. Samsung’s unit shipments dropped 17.1% YoY in 2016, following a similar drop in 2015.

With its AMOLED displays, Samsung is well positioned to produce highly differentiated products. The additional attention that Samsung has given here to audio, industrial design, and overall performance couple that display advantage with an understanding that premium products require similar attention to every detail.    

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