Samsung vows to cement TV lead
By Kim Yoo-chul
BERLIN, Germany ― Samsung Electronics aims to keep its title of the world’s No. 1 flat-screen television manufacturer for a sixth consecutive year in 2011, based on improved product line-ups and advanced supply chain management.
While its competitors are cutting sales targets amid the global economic slowdown, Samsung’s TV segment head Yoon Boo-keun said the company will keep its sales target of 45 million for the year.
Rivals including LG, Sony and Panasonic have warned of a toughening marketing situation in the United States and Europe as consumers are unwilling to splurge on big-ticket items. Sony is looking to overhaul its TV business while LG is thinking of cutting its annual sales goal by 20 percent.
``There’s no question that Samsung should lead the global TV market for the sixth straight year because we have more varied products coupled with highly customized content,’’ Yoon Boo-keun told a press conference Thursday on the sidelines of the IFA technology fair.
``Prices are dropping and that’s a problem. But Samsung thinks the global TV market will rise 10 percent this year from 2010.’’ He predicts Samsung will achieve this year’s objective.
Yoon went on to say that Samsung plans to unveil a variety of Internet-enabled TVs as well as invest more for smart television content to offer wider options.
``Samsung customers could use a so-called `YouTube on TV service,’ enabling them to search and watch 2D or 3D images on YouTube on TV and the service will be expanded to all Samsung TV products.’’
Viewers have raised concerns over the lack of content for smart TV. In response, Yoon said that Samsung will introduce at least 1,000 apps for its smart televisions by the end of the year.
Smart TVs combine the traditional role of televisions with the versatility provided by the Internet, turning television sets into a one stop entertainment hub.
Samsung is also exhibiting upgraded smartphones and tablet variants at its booth at the IFA.
The Korean company displayed a tablet with a 7.7-inch screen using an OLED panel, a sign that Samsung’s focus is on the OLED business rather than putting further resources into the saturated LCD market.
It also exhibited compact and mirrorless cameras, with Window 7 operating system-equipped displays and laptops.
But Samsung seems to have more interest in showcasing its own mobile platform called Bada, ocean in Korean, to potential European clients.
Samsung plans to spend as much as 10 trillion won ($9.3 billion) on research and development this year alone in a strategy to significantly boost its software-related competitiveness.
The news comes amid recent speculation that the company will buy Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) mobile platform, WebOS.
Samsung heavily depends on Google’s Android system but the company has boosted in Bada as the significance of platforms has risen over the past few years.
``Samsung has so far proved its edge in hardware. What we should do at this influential technology fair is draw attention to our own mobile operating platform because that’s a good strategy to show Samsung’s steady transitional efforts toward software,’’ said an unnamed Samsung executive.
IFA organizers and officials said Samsung has hired big-name software engineers who can help customize its offerings, including Steve Kondik, who made his name with the popular aftermarket firmware CyanogenMod.
``The Wave series ― Wave 3, Wave M and Wave Y ― with our new messaging service ChatOn, are part of our enhancements along this path,’’ Samsung spokesman Kim Choon-gon said.
Wave is Samsung’s brand for products using Bada.