Samsung aims to sell 1 million Galaxy Tabs by year's end

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Thursday launched its tablet computer in the domestic market and said it aims to sell more than a million of the Galaxy Tabs worldwide by the end of this year.

J.K. Shin, president of the company's mobile business, said the firm plans to offer the Galaxy Tab in various sizes next year as it scrambles to challenge Apple's iPad in the rapidly-growing tablet PC market.

"We have received a very good market response in countries in Southeast Asia and Europe.... I estimate we will be able to sell more than a million units worldwide by the end of this year," Shin told reporters.

The Galaxy Tab has a seven-inch (18-centimetre) touch screen - smaller than the iPad's nearly 10-inch display - and will be available for South Korean consumers next week via SK Telecom, the country's largest wireless operator.

"You can literally use it by holding it in one hand or put it into the inside pocket of your suit," Shin said, putting the device into his pocket during a press conference.

The Galaxy Tab will make its debut in Korea before the iPad - the iPad's sole distributor KT Corp has said it plans to launch the device locally later this month.

Samsung Electronics has already introduced its first tablet computer in countries like Germany and the United States after Apple rolled out its iPad internationally in January.

The Galaxy Tab, powered by Google's Android software and featuring cameras front and back, can make phone and video calls, while the iPad has no camera or built-in phone.

The new device also allows users to access websites based on Adobe System's Flash, unlike Apple, which blocks the widely-used multimedia platform on its devices.

Global computer and handset makers have scurried to respond to the roaring success of Apple's iPhone and iPad.

Tablet PCs feature bigger screens than smartphones and have no keyboards, instead employing touch screens or stylus pens.

The global tablet PC market is expected to expand to 30 million units next year from 13 million this year, according to industry data.

Samsung is also competing with Apple in the smartphone market. It launched its Galaxy S model domestically in June, seven months after Apple's iPhone hit South Korea.

Shin said the company aims to sell over 20 million Galaxy S units globally this year and to double that next year.