Samsung takes Galaxy Tab Active to UK, tackling a 'crowded' market

Samsung has partnered with a distributor to create specialised add-ons for customers in different verticals.

Galaxy Tab Active_20 with C-Pen_m
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active. Image: Samsung

Samsung's tough tablet the Galaxy Tab Active has arrived in the UK market, where it will be sold exclusively through tech distribution firm Exertis to help contend with a slump in tablet sales.

The new eight-inch Galaxy Tab Active is a ruggedised, water-resistant slate that Samsung has designed to take a beating and survive falls from up to 1.2m .

While Samsung US is selling the tablet directly to business customers there for around $700, Samsung UK will only sell the 4G and wi-fi models through Exertis — a unit of Irish investment group DCC — for the first six months.

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According to Samsung, Exertis will offer the slate with "specific sector proposals to enhance the end user experience, across lone workers, field-based operators, the health sector and the education arena".

Before building the Galaxy Tab Active, Samsung surveyed execs from a handful of Fortune 500 companies to discover what they wanted from a work tablet, which apparently was a device certified to support enterprise applications but not as delicate as the iPad or Samsung's Tab S range.

In the UK, Samsung is using Exertis to help differentiate its hardware in a "crowded" market that has seen double digit percentage declines in tablet volumes sold through distributors.

"The enterprise technology landscape has shifted dramatically, driven by the demand for devices that appeal to consumers while being able to cope with the challenging requirements of professional use," said Graham Long, vice president of Samsung's UK and Ireland enterprise business.

Long added that the "sector-specific proposition reflects our view that a tailored approach is key to differentiating within a crowded marketplace."

While Samsung has staked out a large territory in the enterprise through B2B sales in the UK and Ireland, tablet sales through distribution partners in Western Europe slumped in the last quarter.

According to European analyst firm Context, volume sales of PCs in the third quarter of 2014 grew by 21 percent year on year, while tablets saw their first year on year decline — down 10 percent across the region, largely due to a 23 percent decline in the UK.

Apple also dominates channel sales in the UK, where iPads represent 88 percent of 7.9 inch tablets and 98 percent of 9.7 inch tablets, according to Context. Both form factors saw large declines in the UK over the quarter. The only size tablet that saw an increase in year on year sales were 10.1 inch tablets, which climbed 7.7 percent — notably a size where Apple doesn't yet have an offering.

Apple though is planning a major assault on the enterprise and has reportedly hired a dedicated salesforce that has already been talks with CIOs of prospective clients such as Citibank in the US. News of Apple's new approach to the enterprise follows its partnership with IBM.

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