Samsung: Two Steps Back And One Step Forward In The Tablet Game

A mixed bag of news for Samsung today that underscores the ups and downs it has faced in its bid to overtake Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and the iPad in the tablet market. On the same day that the Korea-based mobile device maker announced a new LTE-powered tablet, it found out that it has to concede another month of sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, as Apple continues to fight it in the country’s courts. The news comes as the company faces an ongoing stall in sales of the 10.1-inch tablet in Germany.

In Australia, Samsung has agreed to refrain from promoting or selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 until the end of September — the second time it has agreed to hold off its release in the country — after Apple noted in court today that the devices planned to be sold there still violates two Apple patents.

As we mentioned in a story on the case last week, Apple claims the device infringes on several design patents covering areas like slide-to-lock and pinch/zoom gestures.

The 10.1 Tab was originally meant for release in early August.

Today’s meeting comes after a strange run of events starting in the beginning of August, when Samsung was first served an injunction over the device. At the time, Samsung said that Apple’s claims were based on a U.S. version of the device — and that the tablet it was planning to sell in Australia was in fact different. It then sent Apple a couple of tablets for further assessment. This latest development is based on Apple’s look at this Australian edition of the 10.1-inch Tab.

The Sydney Morning Herald notes that Apple will detail which patents are still being infringed by the end of this week.

Although it is a big setback to have to wait yet another month to launch the new device, Samsung also intends to put a little more fire in its defense: it is planning to launch its own infringement complaints against Apple — a tactic it has taken in other markets, too.

Today Samsung also announced a new tablet, and LTE-equipped version of the 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab — possibly the model that most closely represents the iPad in terms of size. This is due to shown off this week at the IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany. Along with the tablet, Samsung will also be showing off a version of the Galaxy II smartphone also modified for LTE networks.

Whether it is a coincidence or not, the fact that Samsung is continuing with its new device onslaught — think of the range of Samsung devices on the market today compared to the few models from Apple — underscores how the company remains a potential threat for Apple in the competitive landscape, and therefore continues to be a prime focus in the company’s legal actions.

Still, it’s ironic and probably hugely frustrating for Samsung that while it is launching a new tablet in Germany, it still facing problems selling the 10.1-inch version in that country.

In the ongoing case between Apple and Samsung in a court in Dusseldorf, a judge has ruled that although Samsung will be allowed to continue selling the 10.1 Tab across the rest of Europe, the original EU injunction ordered on the device will continue to be upheld in Germany.