Samsung working on improving Galaxy Tab after seeing new iPad

by Phil Hornshaw

Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs called out Samsung (005930.KS) and its Galaxy Tab during his keynote address, citing sales figures that put the Galaxy Tab at about 2 million shipped units and using a quote from Samsung VP Lee Young-hee that seemed to concede that few Galaxies actually made it into customers’ hands.

That quote from Young-hee has been widely determined to be wrong, though, as Fortune points out. He actually said “smooth” but reporters heard it as “small,” and since then the quote has been corrected. Jobs engaged in some revisionist history during the iPad 2 keynote in other areas, too -- he noted that the iPad 2 would be the first tablet with a dual-core processor to ship “in volume,” while the Dell (DELL) Streak and the Motorola Xoom (MMI) both have dual-core processors and both have been shipping pretty high numbers. And that “greater than 90 percent market share” bullet point would be wrong, as well.

As for comparison of price points between the iPad 2 and other tablets on the market, Apple’s not being exactly forthright, either. Fortune points at the Xoom comparison, which Apple knocked as being priced over the iPad 2. Taking a look at hardware, though, the Xoom packs better components: a stronger processor, better cameras, 4G support and probably more RAM. Comparatively, that extra power puts the Xoom on good terms with the iPad 2 as far as price point -- it’s the other peripheral areas, like app support, where Apple has the edge.

Despite playing a little fast and loose with exactly what “facts” about the tablet market Jobs was sharing at the iPad 2 announcement, other tablet manufacturers are still sitting up and taking notice. According to Ars Technica, Samsung is looking at the improvements the iPad 2 is bringing to the market, and working to adjust things about the Galaxy Tab it feels are “inadequate.”

Samsung’s mobile devision executive vice president, Lee Don-joo, told the Yonhap News Agency as much this week. He mentioned that Samsung might be considering a new price point for the incoming 10-inch Galaxy Tab, which was set to be higher than the original Galaxy Tab.

“The 10-inch (tablet) was to be priced higher than the seven-inch but we will have to think that over,” Don-joo said. Pocket Gamer reports the 10-inch tablet was aiming at a price point of just under $900 -- way higher than even the most expensive iPad model.

Don-joo also commented about the size of the iPad 2. “They made it very thin,” he said, which suggests that thickness is a concern for Samsung as well as for Apple. The iPad 2, at 8.8 millimeters, slips under the Galaxy Tab 10.1’s 10.9mm. The 10.9mm measure was thinner than the original iPad, but still leaves Samsung outpaced by Apple.

Whether these changes to the iPad 2 will really affect the next iteration of the Galaxy Tab isn’t clear and Samsung hasn’t said what, if anything, it might do. A change to pricing seems like a smart decision, but as for attempting to redesign the tab ahead of launch, even subtly, it’s probably not something potential buyers should expect to see.

Samsung and other Android tab makers would probably have better success pointing to the real benefits of their products over the iPad 2 -- specifically, the kinds of specs that can outpace the dominant device, like processing power and 4G LTE support. Apple isn’t the only company that can make claims about others’ products, and in a lot of cases, the truth is on Jobs’ competitors’ side.