Samsung outstrips Apple in India's tablet market

Apple trails behind Samsung in India’s fledgling tablet market, which is largely driven by relevant content and low prices, according to research released Thursday.

Samsung had a 45.8 percent share of the country’s 158,000 media tablets in the nine months ended June 30, according to CyberMedia Research. The company was the first to launch its tablets in the market in October last year, starting with the Galaxy Tab 7.

Apple was a relatively later entrant in January this year, and has garnered 18.4 percent share, according to CyberMedia. Research In Motion’s PlayBook had a 21 percent share. CyberMedia reports shipments by vendors to distributors.

Apple’s prospects in India are likely to remain more or less the same through the year, according to market research firm Gartner. The iPad is expected to have about 25 to 30 percent share of the approximately 200,000 tablets shipped to users during this year, said Vishal Tripathi, principal research analyst at Gartner.

The share of the PlayBook is very small in terms of sales to users, though there may be a large number of units with distributors, he added.

Samsung in contrast is likely to have over 50 percent share, Tripathi said. Apple does not see India as a key market, and its focus in the country has been on its high-end models, he added.

Samsung launched its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in India in August, and plans to launch its Galaxy Tab 8.9 shortly, a company spokeswoman said.

Apple’s performance in India is in sharp contrast with its success worldwide, where the iPad is still the top-selling tablet. Gartner said earlier this month that Apple’s iPad will have a 73.4 percent share of the tablet market in 2011, though down from 83 percent in 2010.

Interestingly, India is one of the countries where Apple has not brought legal action against Samsung for alleged patent infringements, nor sought an injunction on sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The company is pursuing similar cases against Samsung in a number of countries.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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