Samsung is set to launch its first tablet based on a new version of Windows at a Microsoft event next week in a bid to hedge its bets in the tablets space following Apple's attempts to block its Android-based products.
Sources at the Wall Street Journal say the South Korean vendor will launch a tablet running Microsoft's as-yet-unseen Windows 8 platform at a developer event in California next Tuesday.
The news comes ahead of an imminent decision by a German court on whether to uphold a shipments ban on Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab 10.1 over alleged infringements on patents used in Apple's iPad. The case is one of 19 lawsuits in nine countries that Apple and Samsung have brought against each other, says the report. If the judge extends the injunction, pending trial next year, Samsung could "miss out on sales of a generation of tablets" in Germany, its largest market in Europe.
"Samsung at least has to have a double bet rather than relying 100 percent on Android," said Chang Sea-jin, a business professor at the National University of Singapore and author of a book on Samsung. "That will give them a bargaining position with Google and expose them to a broader group of customers."
Next week's rumoured launch of a Windows 8 tablet would also mark Microsoft's latest effort to crack the tablets market after a number of false starts. According to Reuters, an HP prototype showed-off by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at CES in 2010 did not even make it onto the shelves.
Moreover, as tablet sales are now eating into sales of traditional PCs - where Microsoft's software dominates - a successful tablets strategy is deemed essential for the firm's future health.
"Investors are hungry to see how they are going to join where the market's going," Todd Lowenstein, portfolio manager at HighMark Capital Management, told Reuters. "They've been lagging and they need to catch up and surpass what's going on, to demonstrate they truly are an innovative company."
According to Reuters, the first generation of touch-enabled tablets running Windows 8 are expected to reach the market in about 12 months._____________________________________________
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