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Samsung is nothing if not ambitious in its pursuit of excellence on mobile phones.
Asked what he sees in the future of the Samsung handset, Kitae Lee, president of the Korean electronics giant’s wireless networks group, says he wants, “a big world in our hands”.
“We are trying to integrate all possible devices into the phone including television, audio, camcorder. It will be an HDD-enabled music phone. In the future we will also see biotechnology and nano-technology in the devices,” he says.
But an eye in the seemingly impossible has held Samsung in good stead in recent times, and fortified by a domestic market whose consumers are among the most open to new technological experiences in the world, it has developed a reputation for innovation and excellence.
“In 1999 we integrated MP3s into our cell phones, way before the introduction of the MP3 players elsewhere, and now we have multimedia digital broadcasting service on our phones for the first time in the world, and we have integrated analogue television in 2000 – that was a first – and now we look at the satellite phone. And we showcased a phone with a seven megapixel cameras this year at Cebit,” he says.
But Samsung’s climb to the top table of handset manufacturing – it is now one of the world’s three biggest manufacturers and Mr Lee expects the group to sell 100m phones in 2005 – has been underpinned by its recognition that style is as important as substance in a fashion-driven competitive market. Mr Lee says the company has been guided by two Korean ideas about beauty.
“One is very flamboyant and very splendid and colourful and the other is subtle, graceful and elegant beauty,” he says.
“If we compare these phones to birds the splendid one is the peacock; the other is the crane – elegant and graceful and refined.”
The latter might be the Serene, a stylish, sophisticated handset launched recently in partnership with Bang & Olufsen, while the former is represented in a powerful Christmas portfolio by the D600, successor to the D500, which made the sliding fascia fashionable and was named handset of the year by the GSM Association.
And so as Samsung looks to capitalise on recent success it has remains committed to technological excellence combined with style.
“We would like to be ahead in HSDPA 3G and next-generation CDMA service, and also we want to be ahead of others for thinness,” Mr Lee says.
“We will continue to lead and pioneer and we will innovate.”