back to article Samsung admits Android tablet cash haul is disappointing

Samsung has 'fessed up to something that the industry already knew: punters are still not falling for the charms of its fondleslabs. In a moment of candour at Mobile World Congress that Samsung product strategy exec Hankil Yoon is now possibly regretting, he admitted to CNET: "Honestly, we're not doing very well in the tablet …


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  1. Piro Silver badge

    Ah yes, they've discovered that you can't compete with Apple

    ... By being similar to Apple.

    You need to push for a much lower price point, I would wager, to make any dent. Even then, I think this whole thing is a bit of a fad to some extent..

    1. Danny 14

      Re: Ah yes, they've discovered that you can't compete with Apple

      indeed, at the time of TAB release it was pretty much the same price as the ipad with and android OS not geared to tablets. Why would I bother?

  2. Michael Habel Silver badge

    In my honest opinion...

    Tablets can only become affective only after they ditch the On-Screen Keyboard for a Handwriting Input Method. Strangely enough, Apple had the right idea with the Newton. But it was about Twenty Years ahead of it's time though.

    But for Tablets to be of any use, they first need to become as easy to use as a blank Sheet of Paper. Only this would actually be enough to pique my interest in Tablets though.

    Dumb Fondleslabs with a biased fixation to access the Web and their associated App Stores will never catch on in the same way. even if everyone seems to think that this is the way that its going.

    But, nothing AND I MEAN NOTHING is more annoying then having to sacrifice over 2/3'erds of the Screen over to the On-Screen Keyboard.

    Basically Fondleslabs leave me kinda mehh.....

  3. NoneSuch Silver badge

    ...and moaning about it helps how?

    Given the fractured Android tablet space everyone is jockeying for position at the moment. They are flinging multiple tablet types out the door to try and find what people like by shotgun approach. Never a good marketing strategy, unless you are actually selling shotguns of course.

    Pick one and go with it. Their 10 incher is a decent little rig and Samsung can be proud of it.

    As for Apple's constant litigation, complaining about the neighbourhood bully does not make them go away. Take the little blighters on, give them a proverbial black eye in court (They have a lot more to lose than Samsung) and move on to establish market share in the long term.

    If you are loyal to your customers, they will be loyal to you.

    1. eugene

      Re: ...and moaning about it helps how?

      Nooo please tablet makers, don't restrict choice. I've tried 7", 8.9", 10.1" and briefly played it a 7.7"and find the 8.9 at 465 grams the most ideal for my use.

      Choice is good. No one else makes an 8.9 so Samsung won my business. Otherwise I'd probably get a transformer. "One size fits all" never fits all.

  4. Citizen Kaned


    seeing as apple have managed to copyright rounded corner slabs in some countries of course they have been battered.

    as above though, ipad is a status symbol. you either make your device more of a symbol or you reduce the price.

    we use our phones a hell of a lot to control our in house media system, a slab of some kind might be nice but im not paying 300-400 for that. i will look at a cheaper alternative

  5. Van

    Image is everything

    Samsung need to speak to the right marketing companies. IMO they need to change their image and highlight a new highly desirable brand, taking the emphasis off the 'Samsung' brand and logo.

    Or anyone else who wants to compete with Apple for that matter.

    Nintendo made a reasonable attempt with the Wii design and brand, but it seems they are not interested in evolving lifestyle products like Apple. Nintendo are obviously restricted by being a defacto toy company, with an audience of all ages..

    There seem to be very few of us who realise the ipad is first and formost a toy for grown ups. That is not meant to belittle Apple or ipad owners. It's a very, very lucrative market, even in a long recession. If you don't believe it, ask yourselves then if there is a hole in the market?

    Secondly it's a fashion accessory and a feel good type of gadget, that hits all of our desire buttons.

    Starting with the most simple of strategies, hiking the price to make the product look more desirable and let the followers who can afford it do the rest.

    Nobody was interested in tablet PCs nearly a decade ago, when Microsoft aimed them at the business market. Concentrating their multi-media efforts on the desktop computer, of all things.

    It's only common sense and the way Apple drip feed tech and restrict their products that stop everyone else from jumping on board.

    Apple have now established themselves like the BMW brand, only with a vastly bigger mark-up. Both are almost worn like an item of clothing.

    I think competitors could do worse than look at the designer lable clothing industry in how to compete.

    Ironically though, unlike BMW, it's still cheap chinese electronics built in the same factories using the same components as their rivals. Samsung being their biggest supplier.

  6. Kevin7

    Not surprised really - I bought one of the first Samsumg Galaxy Tab's and it was shit. On paper it should have been better than the iPad, had cameras front and rear before the iPad, had expendable memory, could be used as a phone and was cheaper than the iPad. But in actually use it was just beyond awful - the version of Android used just didn't scale to being a tablet, the usability was dreadful and OS polish just wasn't there. You add in Samsung's custom skin and their dismal bloatware and the thing was stillborn. It's no accident that my next tablet was an iPad.

  7. David 66

    Cash waiting

    My cash is waiting for someone to release current state-of-the-art technology onto the consumer market.

    Asus, tied into a deal whereby PC World/ Curry's withhold Transformer 2s from the market until they've sold all their Transformer 1s... And now I won't buy the T2 because it's past its sell-by date. The Slider was great but also withheld until it was OVER A YEAR OLD. What the heck!

    Samsung must try harder, too. My phone trumps the Tab on all but size, and some of the places it trumps it are in pure performance terms. I'm not buying it.

    Take a leap of faith and give us the good stuff before it goes bad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cash waiting

      Agreed 100%

      One of the things Apple don't seem to be afraid of doing is cannibalising their own sales. It's an entirely logical thing to do, but a lot of companies seem to assume that the consumer will wait for them rather than expect to be serviced.

      If any manufacturer doesn't continue to evolve it's own product they can be damned sure someone else will evolve it for them!

  8. asdf

    fad eh?

    Tablets have largely destroyed netbooks for a reason. In their most common niche of couch computing (haha American computing) they can't be beat. I had a samsung NC10 netbook which I enjoyed but in addition to having an annoying fan and due to poor design and shoddy workmanship the video failed right after the short warranty expired. Instead of replace it I found I could finally get an apple (iPad) for approximately the same price. I then jumped on the touchpad firesale bandwagon and now with ICS on it I hardly use the iPAD but thats a different story. Never underestimate the individually cheap but enormous market of couch computing.

    1. Van

      Re: fad eh?

      On the contrary. My Samsung NC10 feels more comfortable sitting on my lap in the lay down position on the couch with one hand on the superb little keyboard and one hand on the top quality external mouse. A keyboard and mouse unbeatable, by any tablet at any price. I like to chill or veg out sometimes and I hardly need to move with this setup.

      Ive never been comfortable holding a book up to read laying down, and neither am I holding and fondeling a tablet computer whilst laying down on the couch.

      Netbooks are far from dead. They are less produced now purely because the manufactures want to make more money elsewhere. Ask yourself how we coped before tablets? Or why tablets didnt catch on nearly a decade ago when Microsoft aimed them at a genuine market.

      My Netbook can do everything my powerful desktop can, using the same software, most of it free, albeit slower with some lag. But its what, four years old? and cost £175 + £20 for the MS mouse.

      No reliabilty issues here whatsover. The NC10 also runs Snow leopard, which came with an Apple sticker to make me feel better about myself.

      So long as you're enjoying the cut down and restricted IOS over full operating systems and productivity on similar sized devices, thats all that matters I suppose.

      1. asdf

        Re: Re: fad eh?

        An external mouse? Comfortable on the couch? What do you work for Intel and believe computers have to have fans that blow hot air and heat up your hand/lap? Tablets generally require only one hand as you have a case that allows you prop them up.

        >Ask yourself how we coped before tablets? Or why tablets didnt catch on nearly a decade ago when Microsoft aimed them at a genuine market.

        I remember before we even had home computers. Yes we coped but the whole edge to tech is giving us better and better stuff. Why they didn't catch on is exactly the reason you mention because of Microsoft.

        >My Netbook can do everything my powerful desktop can

        As can my tablet for couch computing which is mostly just web surfing.

        >So long as you're enjoying the cut down and restricted IOS

        Guess you missed the part where I said since I got my touchpad and put Android on it I hardly touch my IPAD any more. Android is far from restricted or cut down.

      2. asdf
        Thumb Up

        Re: Re: fad eh?

        Basically it comes down to imho on the couch ARM rules because x86 requires a fan, usually a keyboard and or mouse, a big battery and generally makes one's lap toasty where as ARM stays room temp, is quiet, is instant on, lasts for days on standby and for general media consumption/web surfing is plenty powerful.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Re: Re: fad eh?

          transformer 2 would be my weapon of choice as I require proper haptic feedback of keys. That being said I wasnt impressed with the T1.

  9. RMartin

    Getting there

    I'll agree that first impressions count, and the reception of the first Tab probably didn't help Sammy's cause. I did buy one though and thought it more than usable. I've since upgraded to the OLED-powered 7.7, which is a simply fantastic machine. This brings me to the key point however, which is price. Samsung are chasing the premium end of the market and this has led them to being much more expensive than many of their rivals. Their EU pricing in particular is ridiculous. The 7.7 is on sale here (barely, you really have to look, so distribution and marketing are two other areas where they fall down) for close on £600. I got it from a Hong Kong dealer for just over £300, delivered by courier within 48 hours, which is an incredible price difference that just raises suspicion that Samsung's prices are more about maintaining comparisons with Apple rather than anything to do with actual costs.

    1. Jolyon Smith

      OLED is not a source of power.

      That is all.

  10. Keep Refrigerated

    "despite Samsung adopting the Gatling gun approach..."

    This is exactly the problem if you ask me. Late last year I offered to pick up a tablet for a friend from the US and asked which one he'd be interested in. Galaxy Tab was the reply, he wasn't well informed of the technical merits of OS or hardware mind, so just wanted to get a price and trusted me with the spec.

    The difficulty came when I went to research models/prices... I naively assumed Samsung had only 1 or 2 models... instead what do I find?

    * Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 16/32gb

    * Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 16/32gb

    * Samsung Galaxy Tab (7 inch)

    * Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0

    * Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0+

    * Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

    Perhaps on paper you can look at the specs and decide. But imagine trying to perform a Google search on these terms to find and differentiate on cost/specs - including all the sellers that mislabel (both accidentally and on purpose) "7" as "7+" or add "7 inch" to the end. It was both tiring and frustrating trying to find the best price and filter on old/new with these descriptions.

    Eventually we gave up, I think I lost him on the 4th email trying to price up model/size + tax. Granted it was not helped by him having no idea what he wanted (just assumed there was 1 Galaxy Tab, all the options frazzled him).

    Contrast it with Transformer/Transformer Prime/Slider for example. Simple keywords, easy to compare price and functionality.

    I've come to believe that mainstream consumers want fewer options and a controlled eco-system - the success of the iPad and the diametrically opposed Kindle prove that - choice taken out of the equation and (as perceived) promised, controlled, rich ecosystems.

    Android does have a fragmentation problem - but it's not a software limitation, it's a grey matter limitation, as in, "WTF do I choose?!"

  11. AdamWill

    outdated analysis

    the analysis seems to be a bit outdated, since it focuses on the first Galaxy Tab, which is pretty much prehistoric in gadget industry terms (Samsung is now, what, two or three generations past it?)

    All Samsung's subsequent tablets have been marketed and sold rather differently - through big-box tech retailers, not cellphone retailers.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    They might be doing better if their tablets weren't shit.

    I have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 which work bought me just before christmas. It is almost unusably terrible. Some of that is down to the usual tablet restrictions (one app at a time, full screen only), some of it is sown to Google's cretinous eternal beta (the Android GMail client can only attach images from teh gallery, and no other type of file) and much of it s just utter rubbishness on Samsung's part.

    The first thing that happened when I switched it on was an error message telling me that the Samsung Social Hub had crashed. Next, it demanded to be connect to a wifi network to initialise. Until it's initialised you can't use the browser, which you need to log into a password-protected network like the one at work.

    Rumours of an Android 4.0 upgrade come and go. It got an over-the-air firmware upgrade last wek, the main effect of which has been to reduce the browser's (Chrome's) mean time between crashes from twenty minutes to ten minutes.

    Nice hardware, but utter, utter shit software. I'm planning to glue a loop on the back, hang it on the wall and use it as a six hundred quid picture frame. The Eee901 I bought for 1/4 of the price as new old stock on eBay is better in every possible respect.

  14. dssf

    I think Samsung are missing the boat!

    They are (so far as I can see, and based on the lack of comment on the suspicion I have) not exploiting Hallyu.

    They have a vast, wide level of external interest of things Korean coming from around the world. If the Tabs had links to Korean movies, Naver, Soompy, K-pop, Asian cinema sites, and Learn Korean (various publishers as well as the Korean Ministry of Culture), and drop the price of the Tablet, and take up profits sharing from (hopefully) an uptick in travelers to Korea, identified by their tied use of Galaxy Tabs and such through travel agencies, they could consistently build loyalty.

    Helping users get perks and privs by unique codes from specific Galaxy Tabs could justify building a Samsung version of the Apple ITunes environment. Heck, plug-in power ports could offer better in-flight movie screens power via Tabs than the back of the head rest would. Travelers toting Tabs could visit and check in at cultural sites, movies, concerts, and more.

    Samsung is not exploiting the Chaebol:

    sufficiently enough to crack the market. I personally would use it to study Korean on instead of my mobile and my paper flash cards.

    (Part I due to 2000 chars limit....)

  15. dssf

    I think Samsung are missing the boat! (Part 2 of 2)

    But, they have a bigger problem from within. Significantly large enough numbers of warm-blooded Koreans flock to the iPads. This must be distressing for Korean industry. But, it probably is due to an obsession with many things external. Or, maybe it is that some Koreans simply want to "be different", and bazzillions of them all flock to Apple, with few using Samsung phones and tables. (Seems most of the Koreans I know or observe aren't using Korean devices, and either it is they are rebelling against home for various strictures and stresses, or they want to use English-centric devices to reinforce their use and understanding of English with little or no in-built way to fall back on to Hangul. I don't know... i'm just guess here...)

    I can only imagine how distressful this is to Chaebol leaders who day after day see painful numbers of Koreans using iThis and iThat when Samsung and LG and others feel their devices should win out.

    But, every time I sit my ass on a bus or train, I increasingly see more than 4 people with arms reach using an iPhone, usually the current model. While I do see lots of Samsung and LG devices, they are all a hodge-podge of various form factors, models, styles, and eras. Apple has either magnetic or herd mentality in addition to style and functionality. I recognize that the iPhone has a LOT of appeal. I LIKE the style of it. But, I adamantly, virulently refuse to hop onto a wagon that is saturated with umpteen numbers of people all using the same something. I don't care HOW good an item is. If I observe it in a dizzying quantity and count of appearances, I go the other way. If my EVO 4 G did that, i'd get another model at upgrade time. One thing I like about the Android phones is that so many models exist I will pretty much NEVER feel nauseated looking at HTC or other's phones simply because the market is huge enough that saturation won't occur since new models keep pouring out with regularity.

  16. dssf

    I think Samsung are missing the boat! (Part 3 of 3)

    But, getting back to Samsung, Samsung needs to start reaching deeply inward and tapping marketing appeal. STOP shipping Tabs in locale-language only!!!! I like buying Korean devices, but I WANT TO SEE KOREAN BIOS, UI, and language features. It would make me feel like I "own" a little bit more of Korea. People bought Honda in the 80s because of perceived and later warranted concerns about their mileage and comfort and style. It dealt a severe blow to USA-domestic/non-Foreign auto makers. It took a while to claw back into top spots. But, given the lopsided quantity of theft of Toyotas and Hondas, for parts, it is quite clear what is hot. Samsung needs to find that energy and tap the synergies...

  17. P. Lee

    Sync Rules

    Until there is an itunes equivalent then there will be problems. By "equivalent" I mean "buy media, manage media, play media, sync media"

    Kies for their phone is rubbish, not sure about the tab. It currently complains that it can't see drive A: on my Win7 box! On my phone it keeps telling me there is an update but fails with "not optimised for my device." Bah! Something like double-twist (air) is probably the ticket. Pay the double-twist guys if you need to. Make sure you can sync addressbooks properly (windows, mac, linux & google at least) and date-stamp all changes so the sync is sensible. It needs to do music, podcasts, video, addresses, photos too. Try bundling in handbrake with an interface for converting media easily. If I have itunes and all my media is in AIFF, getting a tab is going to be painful without a migration path. How about doing a podcast server so I can pull things once from the internet once and sync with an ipod touch and tab?

    There isn't enough focus on the applications people use most, which is where Apple make their play. Make it better. Delight your customers and you will have an army of advertisers doing your work for you.

  18. robin penny

    I'm still waiting to buy too - wrong specs

    My requirements are fairly simple:

    Android tablet: (Bah to the Apple lock in/Lock down)

    Fluid Performance

    Quality 4:3 screen - same size & resolution as iPad2 (good viewing angles for sharing my photos)

    Full size SD slot so I can take the card out of my digital camera & put it in the tablet without fiddling with an adapter.

    Despite the Gatling gun approach Samsung have missed the target.

  19. Sirius Lee

    Maybe there's a simpler explanation

    Maybe those who want to be in the Apple camp (for lots of different reason from brand loyalty to perceived image) will buy an iPad. For the rest of us we have a much wider range of choices. The tablet (any tablet, inc. iPad) is a delivery device. If that works for you, great. However in the non-Apple world you can choose from a range of alternative devices with very modest prices.

    In October last year I bought my wife an Android (3.0) tablet which seems to work as well as any of her friends iPads (let's be honest, browsing is browsing and reading is reading). But she didn't use it because, in the real world, she does a lot of typing and no tablet is geared to this. She like the portability but not the limited functionality on offer. Not even the kids want to use it.

    Now she uses a netbook bought for £205 running Windows 7 and is delighted. It's lighter than the tablet (which cost nearly twice as much) and it has a keyboard so she is able to type. As it turns out, she doesn't care for the touch screen.

    In the Apple world the alternative to an iPad is the Apple Air which is at least 5x the cost. Sure, advocates my point out this feature and that feature but it's just not a contender on our budget so there are no features which can make it sufficiently attractive to compete.

    The points are:

    1) Tablets may not be that relevant to non-Apple devotees who anyway

    2) Have more product options which are able to meet their specific set of requirements

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