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The Apple and Samsung patent trial is expected to come to a close this week. Samsung is accused of infringing on iPhone and iPad patents in the design of their own devices. The outcome, be it either a win for Samsung or Apple, will likely influence the direction of how tablets will be designed and marketed worldwide.

In an Article in the NY Times, Nick Wingfield reports:

“But the effects of the case are likely to be felt far beyond these two companies. If Apple prevails, experts believe Samsung and other rivals in the market will have a much stronger incentive to distinguish their smartphone and tablet products with unique features and designs to avoid further legal tangles.”
read the article…

And this will be good news, because if the case goes Samsung’s way, then tablet features and design will continue to emulate the iPad and iOS experience, and I for one would look forward to seeing more innovation from Apple’s competitors both on the hardware and software side.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

tablet wars 2012 What was interesting for me as an app designer was that attention to detail Samsung paid in copying software features of what they clearly perceived to be a superior product. An internal 132 page Samsung report complained about the fact that Samsung’s design fell short of Apple’s example in key areas, and did so through a comparison of the two devices in the minutest detail; for example a discussion about the pixel width of the separator line between numbers displayed in the of the built in calculator.

This surprised me a bit, as Samsung is a device manufacturer, and I would have expected them to be concerned with tablet hardware features and price to differentiate itself from other Android based tablets and smartphones.

But it seems that the 132 page report points to examples of how Samsung tweaked the Android OS software. And thus contributing to one of the biggest issues that keep Android based tablets from winning the tablet wars for now: Device Fragmentation. There are 700 some varieties of Android devices, with 30+ different screen resolutions and countless manufacturer specific OS tweaks, and this is what presents enormous quality and design challenges for cross platform developers like us.

Tablet wars aren’t won by hardware: It’s the Apps, Stupid!

As an app designer and developer I may be biased, but to me the tablet wars in the end will come down to neither device features or price. To mis-quote Bill Clinton: “It’s the apps, stupid”. Having a vibrant app marketplace, and therefore having an enthusiastic developer community is what I think will continue to primarily influence the tablet wars.

Do hardware features matter?

Manufacturers would like you to believe that hardware features and price make a significant difference to consumers, but in the end the iPad tablet is not that deficient on the hardware front. And on the software side? Of course there are great apps available for Android, but on the whole an extra megapixel of camera resolution on a lesser known tablet may simply not make up for the variety, quality and choice of fantastic apps available on the iTunes App Stores.

All Apple has to do to keep pace and marketshare is to announce a slightly less expensive tablet, perhaps with a 7″ screen size…

Quick Poll: What is your opinion?

What do you value in your tablet?

The first results of the cooperation will be demonstrated to the public during the IFRA Expo in Hamburg, Germany, held on October 4 – 6, 2010.

Samsung, a global leader in mobile technology, and WoodWing Software, a supplier of innovative cross-media publishing solutions, today announced a cooperation to bring digital publications to Samsung’s brand-new smart media device, the GALAXY Tab.

GALAXY Tab
Available to consumers in Europe starting in October 2010, and soon available in the United States and Asia, the GALAXY Tab has a large 7-inch TFT display, for an exciting mobile viewing experience. Weighing in at only 380g, it includes 16GB or 32GB of internal storage and 32GB microSD expansion. The GALAXY Tab features a TouchWiz 3.0 user interface, WiFi, GPS, rear- and front-facing cameras and also acts as a mobile phone. In addition, as an Android powered device, the GALAXY Tab provides access to numerous applications from Android Market.

Things are speeding up in the tablet publishing space, as expected.

Tools like Woodwing will become increasingly important, because they can support authoring content once and then distributing it across multiple tablet devices with multiple operating systems.

I believe the same will be true for content support agencies and service providers that can help clients navigate publishing to many app market places.

For a full description of Woodwing’s approach click through to the president release.

42diggsdigg After a week of painful teasing, Samsung has come clean about its Galaxy Tab 7-inch Android tablet. We got the nitty gritty specs, along with some quality time with the device, and we like what we’re seeing on both fronts. Follow along after the break as we break it all down, including some hot hot video of the thing in action!

Looking very good, and if a more tablet ready version of Android comes out soon, this could offer the iPad some nice competition.