Company raises handset sale target to 400 million
Samsung mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun holds the company’s latest mobile device — the Galaxy Note 2 — during a launching event at Samsung’s main office in downtown Seoul, Wednesday. / Korea Times photo by Kim Dong-ho
By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics said Wednesday that it will hold a top-level meeting with its biggest software business partner Google today.
Samsung, which is the representative of Google’s Android community in an ongoing fight with Apple, is pulling Google into its battle to seek royalties for patents.
``I will meet Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt on Thursday in Seoul,’’ said Samsung mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun at a launch event to unveil Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 held at the company’s main office in downtown Seoul.
Shin declined to give details, but stressed that strategic meetings with major carriers in the United States are set for next week.
Samsung has already been in talks for the development of modified products aimed at escaping from Apple’s design-related patents.
The Google representative arrived in Seoul late Tuesday and Schmidt will hold a news conference with local and overseas media at Google Korea headquarters, downtown Seoul, today, to roll out its Nexus 7 tablet, here.
Lois Kim, the head of communications at Google Korea, refused to give any details about Schmidt’s plans during his stay in Seoul.
The top meeting comes after Apple faces becoming embroiled in a further clash after Samsung said earlier it was intending to sue the firm over technology patent violations in the new iPhone 5.
Meanwhile, a panel of U.S. federal judges is to follow up a separate complaint by Google which is seeking a far-reaching sales ban against Apple products.
Although the fight with Apple is becoming more dramatic, Shin clarified his bullish stance to boost handset sales by saying Samsung doesn’t much care about the ongoing litigation-related issues.
``Samsung revised up this year’s total handset sales target to 400 million from our earlier projection of 370 million,’’ he said.
The company is widening its gap with Apple in phone shipments. During the second quarter of the year, Samsung and Apple sold 50 million and 26 million phones, respectively, according to market research firms.
Officials said the gap is expected to further widen due to Apple’s slowing innovation in products. Samsung has shortened its new mobile launch cycle _ it introduced various flagship products including the Galaxy S3 and the Note 2 to respond to faster changes in consumer demand.
In contrast, Apple is still sticking with its ``one smartphone per year’’ policy, making it difficult for the Cupertino-based firm to fight with Samsung in the race for smartphone market domination.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which was introduced at last month’s IFA technology fair in Germany, is a hybrid smartphone and tablet PC. The revised sales target by Samsung is based on Shin’s optimism for the success of the just-launched device.
``I have no doubt that the Note 2 will hit the jackpot. We don’t have any problems to sell over 3 million Note 2s during the first three months after the device was launched,’’ said Shin.
The Note 2 will be available to consumers in the United States from late next month or early November. Samsung plans to roll out the device in 12 countries via 260 clients, said Samsung.
``In the United States, the Galaxy Note was only introduced via AT&T. But the Note 2 will be released by all major U.S. carriers,’’ said the mobile chief, adding leading carriers in Europe are going to definitely roll out the Samsung product.
In terms of hardware specifications, the Note 2 is far better than Apple’s iPhone5. The Note 2 features a 5.5-inch high-definition (HD) Super OLED screen, while the iPhone5 still uses a 4-inch Retina Display supplied by LG Display.
The product uses a display with 1280-by-720 resolution and a 16:9 contrast ratio at a density of 267 pixels-per-inch (ppi) _ the iPhone’s screen has a 1136-by-640 resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio at a density of 326 ppi.
The Note2 is powered by 4.1 Jelly Bean, the latest version of Android software. The version included many improvements, including Google Now, Project Butter and Google Wallet.
The touch lag issue has been considered Android's biggest weakness, but Google Now, a voice-activated app available in over 40 languages, seemed to have resolved the issue as it provides users with personalized services by recognizing repeated actions. The function is based on Google's extensive search database.
The Galaxy Note 2 provided various multitasking with an enhanced S-Pen functionality. The Air View function offers a quicker and easier search into content by allowing users to hover with the S Pen over an email, S Planner, image gallery, or video to preview contents without having to open it, said Samsung in a statement.
``More consumers in Europe and the United States are acknowledging the Galaxy Note’s S-Pen functionality. We’ve been receiving very constructive responses from consumers in existing developed markets,’’ said Shin.
삼성전자와 애플과의 특허전쟁이 가열되고 있는 가운데 신종균 삼성전자 IT.모바일 담당 사장이 구글 이사회 의장인 에릭 슈미트를 만나 현안을 논의한다.
회동에서 애플에 대항할 추가 협력 방안이 심도 있게 논의될 것으로 전망돼 만남 결과에 관심이 쏠린다. 삼성전자와 구글은 이미 애플 특허를 우회할 수 있는 소프트패치를 공동으로 개발하고 있다.
신종균 사장은 26일 기자들과 만나 ``슈미트 회장과 27일 서초동 사옥에서 만날 예정’’이라고 밝혔다. 슈미트 회장은 신 사장과 만난 뒤 윤부근 사장과도 차례로 만날 예정이다.
이에 대해 구글코리아 홍보 총 책임자인 정김경숙 상무는 ``확인해 줄 수 없다’’고 말했다.
삼성전자 측은 이번 회동의 목적과 논의 내용 등 구체적 사안에 대해서는 함구하고 있다. 그러나 삼성 소식통에 따르면 이번 만남의 목적이 애플과 혈전을 치르고 있는 안드로이드 진영의 대책 마련인 것으로 내다보고 있다.
더군다나 구글은 삼성전자가 미국에서 애플과 힘겹게 본안소송을 치르는 동안 일종의 `거리 두기’ 를 유지하면서 직접 개입을 꺼려왔던 터라 향후 구글의 행보에 대해서도 관심이 집중될 것으로 예상된다.
익명을 요구한 삼성의 한 관계자는 ``애플과의 소송 장기화와 확전, 삼성전자의 구글 TV 출시 등 구글과의 협력 분야가 확대되고 있는 만큼 심도있는 논의가 오갈 것으로 전망된다’’고 말했다.
슈미트 회장은 지난해 11월 한국을 방문했을 때도 서초동 삼성전자 사옥을 방문해 당시 최지성 삼성전자 부회장과 신 사장, 윤 사장 등과 협력 방안을 논의했다.
신 사장은 슈미트 회장과의 비공개 회동 직후 추석 연휴에 들어간다. 이후 곧바로 미국으로 출국해 버라이즌, 스프린트, AT&T등 북미 주요 통신사들과 만나 협업 방안을 논의한다.
그는 ``추석을 쇠고 미국 출장을 떠난다’’며 ``미국 시장이 항상 중요하기 때문에 중요한 고객사들을 방문하러 가는 것’’이라고 말했다.
신 사장은 멕시코에 이재용 사장과 합류해 삼성전자 현지 법인과 공장을 방문할 예정이다.