Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Samsung president shows no concern over the Apple lawsuit

Don't worry about the Apple lawsuit, Samsung said on Monday in a Wall Street Journal article, "we aren't." The firm, which has been sued by Apple over similar look-and-feel in some of its smartphones and tablets, is set to go "all in" with Android, ready to introduce a number of Android devices, while hoping to duplicate the success of its Samsung Galaxy S smartphones.

Samsung President J.K. Shin told the Wall Street Journal "We didn't copy Apple's design. We have used many similar designs over the past years and it [Apple's allegation] will not be legally problematic." That said, Shin "suggested the scale of the lawsuit could grow," but he didn't elaborate on what that meant.

Meanwhile, Shin covered the future of Android at Samsung. Although the firm has not ended its development of its own platform, Bada, it is focusing on Android now. Younghee Lee, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Samsung said, "Android is the fastest-growing platform and the market direction is headed toward Android so we're riding the wave. When there is a market need for our own software, we will consider it but that's not our plan at the moment."

Samsung managed to sell 10 million units of the original Galaxy S last year. Thus far, since its April launch, the Samsung Galaxy S II has sold 1 million Galaxy S II phones in South Korea alone. That makes it the fastest-selling smartphone ever in South Korea, with the original Galaxy S taking 70 days to reach the same number.

Samsung has been fairly conservative in its forecast for the Galaxy S II, saying it expects to ship 10 million of the devices in 2011. Since the Galaxy S itself, a great but underhyped ... compared to the S II ... device sold 10 million itself, it would seem a low ballpark figure.

At the same time, Shin added that the company expects to release the Galaxy S III in the first half of 2012. That falls in line with the fact that the Galaxy S II was launched in April, and could mean consumers could expect a Galaxy S of some type annually.

Meanwhile, Samsung is close to releasing 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch versions of its Galaxy Tab tablets. The initial 7-inch versions were decently received, but lacked the tablet-optimized OS that the new versions will be running (Honeycomb).

During the first quarter, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung was the world's second-largest tablet vendor behind Apple, but world's No. 1 Android tablet maker. That's not saying Samsung sold huge numbers, however, and tablets running Honeycomb (meaning, the Motorola Xoom) did not launch until late in Q1.

Neil Mawston, director of Global Wireless Practice at Strategy Analytics said, "Samsung is not going to overtake Apple for the foreseeable future because its volumes are considerably smaller, but Samsung can continue to maintain its leadership of the Android tablet market by enlarging its retail presence in numerous countries world-wide, expanding the range of models across multiple price tiers and spending heavily on marketing to raise awareness among tablet buyers of Samsung's devices and app store."

Indeed, no one single tablet will dethrone the iPad, just as in the smartphone segment. Eventually, many believe Android tablets will overtake the iPad, but it will be a combined effort. The iPad itself will probably be the market leader in terms of a single device for a long time to come.

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