Samsung shipped 2 million Galaxy Tab tablets as alternatives to Apple's iPad, but not all of them went to consumers. Moreover, consumers are returning the devices.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab isn't selling quite as well as the
company and media have initially portrayed
, a company official acknowledged.
Moreover, there is some evidence that the 7-inch tablets
based on Google's Android operating system are making a round trip from
retailers to consumers and back.
Lee Young-hee said that the 2 million Tabs the company
claimed to have shipped since last September weren't actual sales to consumers
but shipments to retailers and wireless companies such as Verizon Wireless,
AT&T and others who offer the device.
The figure reflected "sell-in" numbers,
Young-hee said during Samsung's quarterly earnings call Jan. 28. She declined
to quote the "sell-out" numbers, or sales to consumers, but described
them as "quite smooth."
The Wall Street Journal's Digits
Young-hee's comments in a transcript:
"As you heard, our sell-in was quite aggressive and
this first quarterly result was quite, you know, fourth-quarter unit [figure]
was around two million. Then, in terms of sell-out, we also believe it was
quite smooth. We believe, as the introduction of new device, it was required to
have consumers invest in the device. So therefore, even though sell-out wasn't
as fast as we expected, we still believe sell-out was quite OK."
While Young-hee was optimistic about the Tab's 2011
prospects, some anecdotal evidence suggests the devices are being returned at
an alarming rate.
that ITG Investment Research
tracked sales data from nearly 6,000 wireless stores in the United States from the
Galaxy Tab's November debut and found return rates for the Galaxy
Tab through December were about 13 percent. Tab return rates through Jan. 15 totaled 16 percent.
The Galaxy Tab is a solid device
whose chief limitation may be the fact that it is based on the
Android 2.2 operating system.
Google acknowledged the Android 2.2 software is not optimized
to support applications on touchscreens larger than average 4-inch screen size
for most high-end Android phones. Consumers who returned the Tab may have been
put off by the fact that not all applications run comfortably on the Tab's 7-inch
It's likely people purchased a Tab, which now costs
anywhere from $349 to $499 from carriers (originally $599 from Verizon
and $649 from AT&T), because they wanted an
Android-based alternative to Apple's iPad, which sold some 15 million units in
Or perhaps they brought it back after word leaked in
, the 10.1-inch tablet based on Android 3.0, which is optimized
That device is launching from Verizon Wireless later this
month, possibly for $799. Toshiba and LG are also
Android 3.0 tablets this spring.