Posted : 2011-01-03 16:25
Updated : 2011-01-03 16:25

Samsung flexes smartphone muscles

Samsung Electronics has sold more than 10 million of its Android smartphone, the Galaxy S, since its release in June last year. / Korea Times

By Kim Tong-hyung

Samsung Electronics has established itself as a formidable force in handsets, but had been struggling to expand at the same rate in the more profitable smartphone market.

The exploding sales of its latest Android phone suggest that the Korean electronics giant is nearing an important turnaround in feature-rich touch-screen handsets and other premium devices.

Since its release in June last year, Samsung has sold more than 10 million of its Galaxy S smartphones, which in past months have emerged as the go-to-device in the camp of mobile phones powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system, according to company officials on Monday.

The numbers put up by Galaxy S alone are about double Samsung’s total volume in smartphone sales for 2009, and represent an impressive tally when considering that the device is among the most expensive handsets available to global consumers at the moment.

Galaxy S was particularly popular among American consumers, with the company selling more than 4 million of the handset in North America. Samsung sold around 2.5 million of the phones in European markets and 2 million in Korea, company officials said.

The Galaxy S is obviously the most powerful smartphone Samsung has ever produced, although the company plans to unveil a newer version of the device at the MWC convention in Barcelona in February.

Running Android 2.1, the handset features a 4-inch “super” active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) display, a 5-megapixel camera with high-definition (HD) video capture, and 1 gigahertz Hummingbird processor beats at its heart.

It remains crucial for Samsung to improve its software to challenge Apple’s supremacy in consumer smartphones, but it helps that the Android platform is finally beginning to duplicate the iPhone’s strengths in operating systems and applications.

``The numbers roughly break down to 40,000 Galaxy S sales every day or one is sold every two seconds,’’ said a Samsung spokesman.

``With Galaxy S reaching 10 million in sales, we finally have a trophy device to claim ourselves as a leading smartphone maker.’’

At CES, Samsung will be competing for attention with other handset manufacturers like LG Electronics, Motorola and HTC, which will be unveiling the industry’s first dual-core handsets as well as fourth-generation (4G) Long Term Evolution (LTE) and HSPA-plus devices.

Phones, tablets galore at CES

Samsung will be one of many technology companies displaying their latest touch-screen devices like smartphones and tablet computers at the Jan. 6 to 9 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Alongside smartphones, tablets are expected to spearhead growth in the market for mobile Internet devices in 2011. According to technology research firm, Gartner, the global tablet market is expected to reach 50 million sales in 2011, from 15 million this year.

Samsung, which has been a rare company to provide competition for Apple’s iPad with its Android-based Galaxy Tab, is expected to unveil a newer version of the gadget in Las Vegas.

The company will begin to see a larger number of its competitors move into the tablet game, including its domestic rival LG. A problem with Android tablets is that Google has yet to complete a specialized mobile operating system for tablets, which resulted in devices like Galaxy Tab running versions of Android designed for smartphones.

However, at CES, electronics makers like LG and Motorola are expected to introduce the industry’s first devices that run on ``Honeycomb,’’ Google’s first version of an operating system for tablets.

Microsoft is also expected to display a series of Windows-based tablets built by manufacturing partners like Samsung and Dell, Hewlett Packard (HP) and Motorola.
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