Posted : 2013-02-25 17:14
Updated : 2013-02-25 17:14

Samsung aims to double tablet sales

Shin Jong-kyun
Samsung Electronics president

Park Jong-seok
LG Electronics vice president
By Cho Mu-hyun

BARCELONA ― Shin Jong-kyun, head of Samsung Electronics' information technology and mobile communications division, said Sunday that the electronics giant plans to double sales for its tablet line this year.

"We estimate that the first half of 2013 will be difficult compared to 2012 and only time will tell for the second half," said Shin at a press conference on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) that began in Barcelona, Spain, Monday for a four-day run.

"Despite the current situation, we believe that we will grow by 50 percent this year."

Showing off the recently unveiled Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet, he said other devices will help expand the firm's presence in the lucrative area dominated by Apple, Google and Amazon.

"We became No.1 in the mobile market amid fierce competition. Samsung's brand value is now ninth (according to Intrabrand) and has entered the top 10 for the first time," he said.

"Chinese manufacturers are continuing to expand but if we continue our innovation, we believe we will be continued to be loved by consumers."

On the question of when the company believes it will become the top seller of tablets Shin said, "Only God knows. I believe that if we try hard, that day will come. But we will not focus on market share."

He also confirmed an event for the much anticipated Galaxy SIV will be held in New York on March 14 and gave out invites to Korean media.

"I can't answer any questions regarding the Galaxy SIV right now but I will give a comprehensive explanation very soon," the mobile chief said.

On its mobile business, he said that Samsung's growth rate will be higher than that of the total industry's for 2013.

However, he declined to comment on lawsuits against Apple and Ericsson.

Shin also said that last year the firm was mostly a consumer-centered company but this year it will expand aggressively into the enterprise market. "There are many specific areas we can venture into," he said, though without elaborating further.

He added Samsung will also push its long-term evolution (LTE) network equipment business as part of its plan to secure a more steady revenue line from enterprise clients.

It is to showcase a new enterprise security solution called Knox, which will be available for demonstration at its booth during the trade show. It said the solution allows a safe division between work and personal life for users.

Also at the conference, Hong Won-pyo, head of the firm's media solutions center, said Samsung plans to have a unified platform that seamlessly connects all its devices backed by strong shares in televisions and mobiles.

"Our goal is to become a platform provider for developers," said Hong, adding it is planning a game platform as well. He also expressed hopes to form an active ecosystem through Tizen, an operating system under development in collaboration with Intel.

He stressed the importance of having sufficient content to make an ecosystem and said Samsung has partners such as Paramount, Universal and Warner Brothers to ensure this.

"We also have close ties with content providers with robust video portfolios at various regions," said Hong.

LG's chip plan going nowhere

LG Electronics' mobile chief Park Jong-seok, also at the MWC, said that it "will take time" to roll out handsets with its self-developed application processors (AP).

"We are developing an AP chip. But it is no easy thing," Park told reporters. "We are anticipating that it will take a long time to develop an AP (for mobile devices).

"You need meaningful competitiveness to enter chips. We are only at the stage of developing the technology."

The firm is currently developing its own octo-core processor called Odin after the Norse god to challenge the likes of chip heavyweights Qualcomm, Apple and Samsung Electronics.

System chips for mobile phones are currently bringing in the highest return for manufacturers. Qualcomm is rising fast with its Snapdragon processors and Samsung is earning a major portion of its revenue from its Exynos APs.

Park also declined to comment on the future road map of its chip division, indicating that it will be a long time before the firm starts earning in the lucrative sector.

On user experience, the mobile chief said it will continue upgrading software for phones. "Smartphones are really difficult. Our user experience is being used less than we anticipated."

The mobile chief expressed confidence that LG will curb the rise of Chinese manufacturers with its edge in technology such as its LTE portfolio, especially for LTE-Advanced.

The electronics maker is currently considered a "1.5 tier" firm by local observers, behind Apple and Samsung in its premium image and only slightly ahead of ZTE and Huawei.

LG executives at the press conference said the firm will move 10 million smartphones per quarter this year and doubles sales compared to last year.

Park said LG will maintain its strategy to focus on Android and has no plan to release devices running on other operating systems (OS) in the short-term.

However, executives are open in general to the possibility of adopting Windows if need be.

They also said that a phone running on Firefox will be released sometime this year, though Android was still the imperative system.

"When we say we are focusing on Android, it doesn't mean we don't have the capacity to adopt other OS," said LG Electronics' Brian Kwon, also at the conference.

"We consider whether other OS have an active ecosystem and content, and whether they have the capacity to create value.

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