Samsung says it’ll hit tablet sales projections despite legal battles with Apple

by Phil Hornshaw

Samsung can’t sell its tablets in Germany and is facing hiccups in Australia and the Netherlands, with other legal battles that could work against it. Still, the Korean tech company isn’t disheartened it seems.

According to a story from Bloomberg, J.K. Shin, head of Samsung’s mobile division, said during a media briefing today that the company is still on pace to sell five times as many tablets as it did in 2010, just as planned.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab models run Google’s Android operating system, which is basically the mortal enemy of Apple’s iOS mobile platform. Apple has been actively targeting all Android device makers with lawsuits, claiming they infringe on Apple’s patents for its iPad and iPhones, but it seems to have some special voracity for going after Samsung. Injunctions and court rulings in patent suits have blocked Samsung devices in multiple countries, and the battle continues to rage all over the world.

Bloomberg reports that Germany, where Samsung’s Galaxy Tab devices have been blocked for “copying” Apple’s designs, could be the third-largest market for touchscreen tablet computers. In Australia, Samsung agreed to delay the launch of its Galaxy Tab until a case can be decided, even though it already altered the design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 it intends to release there, specifically to get back on Apple’s good side. A hearing in that case is taking place this week.

Samsung still putting up a fight

NH Investment & Securities estimates that Samsung sold about 1.6 million tablets last year, which would put the company on pace to sell about 8 million this year. In the first quarter of 2011, Samsung was the second-largest provider of tablets, Bloomberg reports, with 16 percent of the market. That’s not enough to rival Apple, which holds somewhere north of 65 percent (I’ve seen quite a few conflicting numbers, but they never seem to drop lower than that), but it’s definitely a respectable chunk and it makes Samsung the leader of the field of Android tablets.

And despite Apple’s somewhat successful legal strikes, Samsung isn’t planning to let its new rival win without a fight. The company has already pledged to work to block Apple’s iPhone 5, which it seems the company will announce on Oct. 4, with patent suits when it comes to South Korea. And Samsung is countersuing or preparing to countersue in lots of other areas (including Australia) as well.

Even so, at least according to Samsung, things are going well with its tablet. Imagine how well they might be going if Apple wasn’t hamstringing the company at every turn (although that viewpoint tends to excuse Samsung from any patent infringement, which doesn’t appear to be the view of at least a couple of judges).

And as Bloomberg reports, Android tabs aren’t the only irons Samsung has in the fire. Microsoft recently announced the tablet capabilities of Windows 8 by showing them off on a Samsung device. More Samsung Windows tablets are due later this year in Europe, too.