SEOUL: Samsung, the electronics giant, is aiming to sell 1m units of its new Galaxy Tab by the end of this year, despite the fact it only went on sale in selected areas of Europe and Asia in the middle of October.

The world's second-largest mobile phone maker said it will now launch the device, which runs on Google's Android operating system, in a variety of medium and large sizes in a bid to battle Apple's supremacy in the fast-growing tablet sector.

Last month, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs forecast that seven-inch tablets would be "dead-on-arrival”, saying the display was too small for high-quality applications.

Samsung's response is to promise the launch of ten-inch screens, and possibly even larger alternatives, as soon as possible.

Spurred on by the success of the iPad, which sold 3.3m units in the first three months after its April launch, other tech firms such as Research in Motion, Cisco, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard are taking up the challenge by launching their own tablets.

Samsung began selling the Galaxy Tab in South Korea last week.

The device has a seven-inch screen and weighs 380g, compared with the 730g iPad, which has a 9.7-inch screen.

"We are confident of [making] over 1m sales this year as consumer responses in Europe and Asia have been quite good," said Shin Jong-kyun, president of Samsung's mobile division.

"Various sizes of tablet devices will be launched by many companies next year. To become a market leader, we are preparing various tablets with screens of between seven-inches and 10-inches, and even bigger."

According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple controls 95% of the tablet market, with 4.2m units sold by the US firm in the last quarter.

Gartner, the research group, has estimated that tablet sales would more than double in 2011 from an expected 19.5 million units this year.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff