Samsung launches their latest Galaxy Tab S at a press conference in The Ivy Jumeirah, Emirates Towers, Dubai. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Samsung aims to widen the gap with Apple by launching newer tablets with different price ranges.

The South Korean company became the leader and overtook Apple in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region last year.

With Samsung having launched the thinnest and lightest tablet — Galaxy Tab S – in the UAE on Monday and the first with Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display, the company is not keen to look behind and rather focus ahead.

“We saw 100 per cent growth in volume last year. The dynamics have changed as we introduced many models and has seen a dramatic shift in our market share in the UAE,” Denzil D’Souza, Business Head, Mobility Sales Group, Samsung Gulf Electronics, told Gulf News.

According to research firm GfK, Samsung controls 40 per cent of the market value and 28 per cent of the market share as of May.

Samsung’s two models – 8.4 and 10.5 inches with WiFi and LTE — has a 6.6mm profile and weighs 465 grams (10.5-inch) and 294 grams (8.4-inch). It takes the design cue from Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone.

Apple’s iPad Air retina display has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels while Samsung Tab S has a WQHD resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.

WQHD stands for Wide Quad High Definition, which means it has four times the resolution of High Definition (1280x720).

The WiFi models will be available by July 5 in the UAE. The Tab S 8.4 WiFi and LTE models are priced at Dh1,699 and Dh2,099, respectively while the Tab S 10.5 WiFi and LTE models at Dh2,099 and Dh2,599, respectively.

In the first quarter, the MEA region shipped a total of four million tablets, registering a 77.3 per cent year-on-year growth.

In the second quarter, the market is expected to grow by 40 per cent year on year to 3.94 million units, with much of the growth driven by the strong performance of the consumer segment.

Fouad R. Charakla, research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), said that Samsung was particularly active on the marketing front, launching numerous new models that helped it retain top spot in the market with a total volume of 974,600 units for the first quarter while Apple held on to second position with 751,934 units.

Charakla said the level of penetration attained in many of the mature markets globally is much higher than many of the regional markets. There is still room for growth in the region.

For the full year, the MEA market is expected to witness a rise of 38.7 per cent to 16.4 million units compared to 11.8 million in 2013.

“In terms of screen sizes, 7-8 inch tablets will continue to dominate the market throughout 2014,” said Victoria Mendes, a research analyst at IDC.

“However, we expect to see a good uptake of 10-11 inch tablets during the year as a number of the large education initiatives currently underway in the region require the use of these larger devices.”

With Samsung exiting the PC business, same as Sony, the focus is on tablets and smartphones.

“Everyone has got used to the tablet at lower price point, now we see a quality growth as tablets have become a part of consumers’ lifestyle. The average selling price is getting better, especially for Samsung, even though the average selling price of the market is coming down,” D’Souza said.

He said that Samsung sees quality growth and quantum leap in the tablet market this year.

Last year, Samsung launched 10 models and this year has launched 18 models so far.