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Samsung explains Apple deal for Australian Galaxy Tab 10.1 release

by Phil Hornshaw

Earlier this week, word came down about Samsung postponing the release of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia as part of an agreement with Apple in their ongoing patent dispute over Samsung’s Android tablet.

The other day, Gizmodo has a story straight from Samsung’s public relations department clearing away any misconceptions about that delay and whatever deal the company has struck with Apple.

Previously, we reported that Samsung had agreed to hold back the Australian version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 pending a ruling from Australian courts about the patent dispute. Apple and Samsung are currently in a battle over the U.S. version of the Galaxy Tab, which Apple claims infringes on several iPad 2 patents and “copies” the Apple tab. Samsung has said the Australian version of the tablet is different from the U.S. version, and it seemed the idea of the deal was to prevent any patent trouble in Australia before the Galaxy Tab’s launch there.

The agreement has Samsung bringing a new tablet to Australia, not the same version that went to on sale in the U.S. with which Apple has a problem. And it appears that Samsung’s use of a new tab isn’t going to affect its release date in Australia, either. Things are going ahead as planned, Samsung says. It’s just that the Australian Galaxy Tab is not the one with which Apple has issues.

Here’s a quote from Samsung as to the ins and outs of the deal going forward:

When the Australian variant of the device is finalized, three units will be provided to Apple to review for 7 days with the opportunity to raise any concerns within this time period. We are confident that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will not violate any of the plaintiff’s patents.

That’s more or less what we thought was going to happen. Samsung maintains that this is the extent of the agreement, however. Apple gets to check out the Australian Galaxy Tab for a week, but no other devices will be handed over. And the Australian version is not the version that will be sold in other markets, necessarily.

Samsung was also mentioned that this isn’t an admission of any patent infringements on its part: “Samsung will continue to actively defend and protect our intellectual property to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communication business,” the company told Gizmodo. “We are confident that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 does not violate any of the plaintiff’s patents.”

So the Australian launch seems to be on target, although Samsung was vague about the details. The new tablet is in development and will likely launch at similar prices to the U.S. version, which starts at $499. There aren’t any other details, though – whether the tab will be 3G-enabled, for example. Australian Android tab fans are going to have to keep their eyes for more details.