Front-Facing Tablet Speakers the Key to Differentiating from Apple iPad?
In Samsung’s and Apple’s on-going patent design lawsuit, Samsung may have seemingly scored a victory against Apple’s iPad with its slightly re-designed Galaxy Tab 10.1N, which was created for the German market after Apple had won an early victory against the original Galaxy Tab 10.1. On the 10.1N model, Samsung made some slight modifications to its tablet design, most notably to increase the frame on the left and right hand sides of the front of the tablet to accommodate front-facing speakers; on the original Tab 10.1, the speakers were directed out to the sides.
In the new early victory for Samsung, the judge in the Galaxy Tab 10.1N case versus Apple notes that Samsung had changed the tablet’s design enough to avoid confusion with the iPad even though the two tablets remain similar and the design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 did not change much when Samsung created the 10.1N.
“Consumers are well aware that there is an original and that competitors try to use similar designs, so buyers are vigilant when looking at products,” the presiding judge says. “We don’t think that someone buys a Samsung to make his table neighbor at the coffee house believe he owns an iPad.”
In the case of the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 versus the iPad, that judge had asked Apple to provide some potential reference designs of tablets that would not infringe on Apple’s design patent, and Apple’s short list of design includes squarish, blocky, tablets with thick bezels.
A final verdict is expected to be rendered on February 9.
Interestingly, though, Samsung had announced in the past that it had scrapped original plans for the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 after it had seen what Apple had done with the iPad 2 when it announced the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 at CTIA Spring 2011 in Orlando, Florida. Whether or not that redesign borrowed inspiration from the iPad 2′s design is unclear or if Samsung’s statement is an admission that it may be a copycat.