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Could Samsung Australia sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1N?

Samsung has amended its Galaxy Tab 10.1 design in Germany, following an injunction in a patent dispute with Apple, leading us to wonder whether the same could happen in Australia.

Samsung has launched an amended Galaxy Tab 10.1 design in Germany in the wake of Apple being granted an injunction by a German Regional Court, leaving Aussies to wonder whether Samsung has something similar up its sleeve for Australia after the tablet was also blocked down under.

The German Galaxy Tab 10.1N (Credit: Samsung)

The Galaxy Tab 10.1N is the altered codename for the device, and the differences between it and the banned tablet are as minor as its name change. In Germany, one of the key aspects of Apple's patent claim against Samsung was the Korean company's use of glass from edge to edge on the front of the tablet. Therefore, one of the key differences in Samsung's newer tablet is the introduction of a thin stainless-steel border around the display, which also houses front-facing stereo speakers.

A new video (embedded below), published by NewGadgets.de in Germany, shows the updated design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, and the operation of the tablet in use.

In Australia, Apple has been granted a temporary injunction blocking the sales and marketing of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 until a full hearing begins in March next year. This, of course, means that Samsung will miss the opportunity to sell its flagship tablet device over the busy Christmas shopping season this year, unless it can quickly release a device that circumvents the issues of the current lawsuit.

To do so, Samsung will need to consider different aspects of the 10.1 design, because, while the look and feel of the 10.1 was raised during the Australian hearing, the patents in question locally have so far focused on specific features in Samsung's firmware, including the way in which the software interprets user input when using a swiping gesture to scroll content onscreen, and the manufacturing techniques of the device's touchscreen.

Hypothetically, a redesigned 10.1 would need to be significantly different on the inside and out to avoid having Apple attempt to include it in its ongoing lawsuit. Interestingly, Apple has already raised this concern with the courts in Australia, questioning whether the specificity of the terms of the current injunction opened the door for Samsung to re-brand the Galaxy Tab 10.1 as the 10.1S, and release it in market. Samsung's legal counsel pledged to the court that Samsung wouldn't engage in that sort of a response to the injunction — however, a month later, the 101.1N is being released in Germany.

Samsung's play in Germany proves that an amended tablet isn't a technical impossibility, and it shows an impressive flexibility for a company of Samsung's size. Given the state of play in Australia at this time, it does seem highly unlikely that we'll see a Samsung tablet in Aussie stores in the near future. Beyond Samsung's dispute with Apple, and the ongoing injunction put in place by the courts, there are also Samsung's retail partnerships to consider. Australia's largest electronics retailers, like JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman, have likely spent their budgets buying alternative stock for the Christmas season, and the marketing campaigns to support this inventory, all of which excludes Samsung-designed tablets.