You thought wrong. For most people the tablet market consisted only of the iPad at first. So for them the lowest priced iPad would've been the low end of the market, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a 'low-end' device in terms of build quality, and usability.
Did you not see the recent sales rankings? In some cases Samsung was the number 2 and 3 spots. I would hardly call that 'languishing'. They'll probably never outsell Apple except for a month or two out of the year, but they're way ahead of the number 3 manufacturer.Sadly, cloning has proven extremely profitable. Even more sadly is that those that didn't are teethering on extinction.