Shin Jong-kyun, the head of Samsung Electronics’ mobile business division, shows off the Samsung Infuse, an ultra-slim, HSPA+ smartphone to be released by U.S. carrier AT&T, at the CES trade fair in Las Vegas, Thursday (local time). / Yonhap
By Kim Tong-hyung
LAS VEGAS ― Samsung Electronics expects to sell more than 60 million smartphones this year, about triple what it managed in 2010, banking on the popularity of its Galaxy series of Android handsets.
Shin Jong-kyun, the head of Samsung’s mobile business division, also said the company plans to introduce more touch-screen tablets this year to exploit a growing market for mobile computing devices.
Samsung is the world’s second-largest mobile-phone manufacturer behind Nokia, but has been struggling to compete with Apple in consumer smartphones. However, with Google’s Android mobile platform beginning to duplicate Apple’s strength in operating systems and applications, Samsung is now a leading provider of Android devices.
Samsung’s flagship product in smartphones is the Galaxy S, an Android device it managed to sell more than 10 million since its launch in June next year, with more than half of the sales coming from North America and Europe.
The company also markets handsets that run on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and its own operating system, Bada, and its total smartphone sales for 2010 are around 20 million, Shin said. Samsung also sold more than 1.5 million of its Galaxy Tab tablets to become virtually the only company to provide competition to the Apple iPad.
``I think we did better than our previous goal of selling 270 million mobile phones in 2010. The 20 million smartphones sold gives us a foundation to build on in the premium segment too,’’ Shin told Korean journalists at the sidelines of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
``Our plan for this year is to sell 60 million smartphones and cement ourselves as a global top-tier brand in this segment. It will be important for us to establish stronger positions in regions such as Southeast Asia, China, and Central and South America instead of just relying on advanced markets.’’
At the CES, Samsung displayed a wealth of mobile devices, including a fourth-generation (4G) Long Term Evolution (LTE) smartphone, the WiFi-only and LTE versions of the Galaxy Tab, and a touch-screen computer designed with a hidden, sliding keyboard that aims to bridge the gap between tablets and laptops.
Shin said Samsung will unveil a new version of the Galaxy S at February’s World Mobile Congress (WMC) in Barcelona. The handset will be powered by a dual-core processor and feature a ``super’’ active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED)-plus display with enhanced density, and run on Gingerbread, the most advanced Andorid version designed for smartphones. He also said that the company will expand its Galaxy Tab lineup this year and promised to provide more detailed business plans at the WMC. The movement toward LTE networks will also expand business opportunities in handsets, telecommunications equipment and systems, Shin said.
``Upping our competitiveness in applications and content is crucial for us to improve our smartphones. We will continue to invest in our four-major content hubs (Readers, Media, Social and Music) and strengthen our collaboration with developers and encourage them to produce premium content,’’ Shin said.
Shin expected the global mobile-phone market to increase by 10 percent this year, with the smartphone segment growing by 30 to 40 percent.