Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet could be on sale in Australia as early as next week, following the Federal Court’s decision to overturn a ban on the sale of the tablet.
Last month, the court slapped a temporary injunction on sales of the Galaxy 10.1 after bitter rival Apple said the Galaxy range of tablets and smart phones was too similar to its iPad and iPhone.
The companies have been waging a patent war in 10 countries since April, with the Australian dispute centred on touch-screen technology.
Yesterday, the Federal Court ruled the ban would have killed off the Galaxy 10.1 tablet in Australia due to the short commercial life of new technologies.
Instead, it has directed Samsung to keep accounts of all its transactions involving the Galaxy Tab in case Apple proves a patent infringement and claims for losses.
“The ruling clearly affirms that Apple’s legal claims lack merit,” Samsung Electronics Australia said in a statement.
However, Apple has been granted a stay, which means Samsung will not be able to start selling the tablet until Friday so that Apple can respond to the finding.
According to Samsung lawyer Neil Young QC, this will only “prolong the injustice” suffered by the company. Meanwhile, Apple is preparing an appeal to the High Court.
Even so, the Federal Court’s decision is a boost for Samsung in the lead-up to Christmas.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet is lighter and slightly thinner than Apple’s iPad 2, although the plastic back isn’t quite as sleek as Apple’s metal casing.
The screen is a multi-touch 1,200 x 800 LCD panel, offering more screen space than the iPad 2 and a sharper dot pitch.
Internally, the tablet is based on a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor.
The scrolling and rolling animations appear slightly choppy compared to the iPad 2, and when users swipe to scroll up or down a page, there’s a tiny delay before the movement registers.
Samsung has overlaid its TouchWiz 4.0 customisations onto the regular Android interface. These include “live panels” and a “Mini Apps Tray” along the bottom of the home screen.
The notification and settings area at the bottom right of the screen is replaced with Samsung’s own version, offering simpler one-touch access to frequently used settings.
A “tilt to zoom” feature has also been added to the browser, and various interface elements have been spruced up with a clean black-on-white look.
Potentially more useful is the pre-installed copy of Polaris Office, plus some bespoke Samsung applications including the Social Hub and the Music Hub.
The biggest disappointment is battery life – the tablet managed just over seven hours of playback off a full charge, which is less than half the life of the iPad 2.