Samsung has launched its latest new tablets in India: the Galaxy Tab S 10.5-inch and the Tab S 8.4-inch screen version. The company has launched WiFi and 3G supported versions of the tablet for a price of Rs 37,800 for the 10.5-inch model and Rs 44,800 for the 8.4-inch model. Where specs and pricing are concerned, it is clearly taking on the iPads in a big way.
Samsung has kept the price high given that it is a premium product, it should be noted that these tablets don’t support LTE in India which is a disappointment. While Samsung’s press statement mentioned WiFi and LTE along with pricing, detailed specs revealed that it was FDD LTE and not TDD-LTE that works in India.
When asked if Samsung was planning to launch a 4G version of the tablet in India, Samsung executives said they couldn’t comment on the same.
Currently the list of smartphones that support 4G LTE in India is small. The list includes Apple’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c (iPhone 5s launched at an exorbitant Rs 53,000 and is now retailing at close to Rs 44,000, while the iPhone 5c which was launched at a price of Rs 41,900 is retailing at Rs 34,000) LG G2 4G LTE and Xolo LT900. Apple’s iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display don’t support the required LTE band in India, according to Apple’s official website.
And Samsung’s latest tablets don’t increase the options for the users either. Just like the Note 3 and the S5, India is yet to see an LTE-enabled device from Samsung.
LTE aside, there’s no doubt that Samsung has also gone after Apple by introducing a brighter Super AMOLED Screen with a resolution of 2560×1600 in both tablets. This is much higher than the iPads which have 2048×1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi) for the Air and a 2048-by-1536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch (ppi) resolution for the iPad Mini with Retina Display. It has also bumped up the camera giving its tablets an 8-megapixel camera in the back and a 2.2 megapixel camera in the back. The iPads are still at 5 megapixel camera in the back and a 1.2 megapixel camera in the front.
Plus both tablets come with a microSD slot with 128 GB limit and thus offer more space for users compared to the iPads which have a fixed 16, 32, 64 GB and 128 GB version.
In terms of size, Samsung’s tablet is only 6.6 mm thick and weight 467 g for the 10.5-inch version, while the 8.4-inch version is also 6.6 thick and weighs 298 g. In comparison to this the iPad Air is marginally heavier at 469 g and is thicker at 7.5mm. The iPad mini with Retina Display is heavier at 308 g and 7.2 mm thick.
The iPad Air with 3G and WiFi starts at Rs 44,900 (although you can get it for less on some websites but only at a marginal reduction), while the iPad mini with Retina Display starts at Rs 37,900 for WiFi plus 3G, so where the price gap is concerned with Apple it’s pretty much the same.
But where the Indian tablet market is concerned, growth is doing down. India registered a negative growth of 32.8 percent in Q1 of 2014 compared to Q1 2013, according to IDC data. As the report noted, “the drop was primarily due to lack of new buyers in the market.” Even though Samsung is the clear leader with 47.5 percent market share followed by Apple at 22.5 percent, users weren’t lapping up tablets as it was expected.
Given that tablets have nothing new to offer for users, Samsung’s omission of 4G LTE in India market seems even more glaring and a bit surprising. Granted that where the Indian market is concerned, 4G growth is still sometime to go, though with Reliance Jio launching both data and voice for 4G, massive changes are expected by the end of this year.
More importantly since the Galaxy Tab S has been positioned as a premium tab, it is likely that a lot of these users would want to get 4G on their tabs as soon it arrives in their circle. For them, a Samsung Tab S that doesn’t offer 4G, would be a let-down. Additionally, if Apple’s next version of iPad does support the right LTE band for India, (and given that a new version will release by the end of this year), it could just outsell Samsung, even in India.