11 Articles for 'Samsung'

  1. 2009/11/24 iPhone Finally in Korea! 22K Pre-order In Its First 2 Days
  2. 2009/11/11 Samsung Bada is Yet Another Mobile Platform (3)
  3. 2009/02/09 Samsung Mobile to Join the App Store Fray: Are Apps Stores Dime a Dozen?
  4. 2008/08/04 Samsung Armani TV (3)
  5. 2008/04/02 Samsung brings Second Life to mobile (1)
  6. 2008/03/04 Mobile WiMax to be deployed in Japan (1)
  7. 2008/02/29 Is Sony showing cold shoulders to Samsung?
  8. 2008/01/29 Jasper Morrison: The Magic Hand Behind Samsung's Design Elegance (4)
  9. 2007/02/24 Samsung's pan-Asian social network service opens (5)
  10. 2006/12/21 Samsung launches mobile phone with built-in mouse

No more "in Korea, iPhone is the next month phone" joke.

KT is launching Apple iPhone soon and has opened a pre-order site this past Sunday. For the first 2 days, KT sold 22,000 iPhones (which are to be shipped out on the 28th). With this run-rate, KT will likely sell 400K-500K iPhones within the year. The sales figures are quite promising, considering it's been only 2 days and some people might be giving it just a little bit more time to see if they can get a better deal. 

Speaking of the deal, iPhone in Korea looks fairly affordable. iPhone 3G S (32GB) costs KRW 946,000 (about US$800), but with KT subsidies under a 2-year contract, the phone comes in at KRW 396,000 (approx. US$ 300), and the user can pay that amount in 24-month installments. And here are KT's iPhone monthly plans: 

  • i-slim (KRW 35,000 or about US$ 30 per month): 150 mins of free calls, 200 free texts, 100MB free data use
  • i-light (KRW 45,000 or about US$ 40 per month): 200 mins of free calls, 300 free texts, 500MB free data use
  • i-medium (KRW 65,000 or about US$ 60 per month): 400 mins of free calls, 300 free texts, 1,000MB free data use
  • i-premium (KRW 95,000 or about US$ 90 per month): 800 mins of free calls, 300 free texts, 3,000MB free data use

I'm a bit bothered by the data usage cap, but then assuming that many users will resort to Wi-fi for some of the data-heavy uses, iPhone's monthly price plans also seem pretty reasonable. Besides, these plans are not too much more expensive than the current ARPU of many mobile users anyway. 

Of course many bloggers and Twitter users, who have been crossing their fingers for the iPhone in Korea for such a long time, are rejoicing. On the contrary, Samsung and LG don't seem to be too much excited by the news. For example, Samsung's uneasiness is hinted by this news: Daum, Korea's #2 portal, had announced a plan to give free iPhones and free data charges for 2 years a while ago. Recently, Samsung has lobbied itself into the deal, and Daum is now giving an on its free phone program. Of course Samsung's new smartphones are no slouch and have better specs than iPhone in quite a few areas. But the talk of the town, at least for now, is clearly the iPhone. 

Samsung Bada is Yet Another Mobile Platform

Mobile | 2009/11/11 13:45 | Web 2.0 Asia

Samsung announced its new mobile platform called Bada. Bada means "Ocean" in Korean; the word can also mean "to download" (an app), so I guess branding-wise, Bada couldn't have been more aptly named, at least for Korean-speaking audience.

So what is Bada? The "About" section of Bada homepage gives an intro, which I think is unnecessarily long and yet somehow fails to get to the point. In a nutshell, Bada is Samsung's Symbian. Bada entails a new, Samsung-developed smartphone operating system, Samsung's app store, and Samsung app developer program.

So Bada joins Symbian, iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry as yet another "mobile apps platform". One has to wonder why the world needs yet another "platform" when it has iPhone and Android, but after all this might not be insignificant, given Samsung's footprint in the global mobile handset market. Samsung's Q3 2009 worldwide market share was 21.0%, putting itself in a solid #2 spot and getting more and more neck-and-neck with Nokia (37.8%). Of course these are total sales and we would see a significantly different landscape if we focus only on smartphones, which Bada seems to focus on. But one can imagine the proportion of smartphones in Samsung's phone lineup will only grow, hence the higher importance of Bada. For developers though, Bada may translate into yet another platform to customize their apps to.

Samsung Mobile to Join the App Store Fray: Are Apps Stores Dime a Dozen?

Mobile | 2009/02/09 23:29 | Web 2.0 Asia

Recently Samsung Mobile has been the biggest gainer in the global mobile phone market. As if it wasn't enough to become the best-selling maker in some key European markets like the UK and France, Samsung became the king of the hill in the US cellphone market last year (which apparently had been helped significantly by Motorola's skid). A side note: Another big gainer in the US cellphone market was LG; As a result, 4 out of 10 cellphones currently sold in the US now hail from S Korea.

2008 US mobile phone market share among manufacturers (source IDC)

Full of confidence, apparently Samsung wants to flex its muscle in the software market as well - Samsung has announced plan (link in Korean) to join the app store bandwagon, with its own offering of mobile app store. Official announcement is to be made in Mobile World Congress on the 16th. 

With Nokia also announcing a plan for its own app store, it's now easier to count handset manufacturers that do not have a plan for an app store. But, of course, it remains to be seen if Samsung et al can pull off creating as elegant an user experience as that of Apple's, thereby creating similar level of market success and customer satisfaction. Just remember guys - it takes whole different sets of skills. 

Samsung Armani TV

Other | 2008/08/04 21:57 | Web 2.0 Asia
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When I was at Samsung Mobile's marketing team, I often had business meetings with companies like BMW and Bang & Olufsen to discuss joint marketing and product launch. Until as late as in the 90's, Samsung was thought to be a cheap microwave brand - but the brand is now recognized as an upscale, premium marque in many product categories including mobile phones and LCD TVs.

Samsung's latest effort to seal its premium image is the Armani LCD TV. According to the Korean media, the 52-inch LCD TV will cost about $8,700, and will come with a wooden frame that's "hand-painted over seven times." Well, do you really need your TV frame to be hand-painted for seven times? Apparently some people do - if your car gets the paint job done by hand, why not your TV? Add this to the "a must have item to prove you are filthy rich" category.

Samsung brings Second Life to mobile

Mobile | 2008/04/02 19:34 | Web 2.0 Asia
Samsung Electronics introduced mobile Second Life and several other innovations at CTIA '08. Coverage here, and here.
With the Second Life client available on Samsung's mobile handsets, users can enjoy many services from the Second Life virtual world whenever and wherever. Unique features of the Second Life client on Samsung's mobile handsets include a mixed blogging platform that allows users to post their blog simultaneously in the real world and the virtual world of Second Life, and the Samsung Mixed Contact feature which allows users to have mixed world contact by communicating with avatar friends via voice or SMS. The Second Life client on Samsung's mobile handsets is compatible with Windows Mobile devices.

I like the concept of using mobile phone as a link between one's online (virtual) life and offline life - Imagine your real-world activities such as phone conversations or short messages being portrayed onto your virtual world.

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What's also very interesting is Samsung Life Diary, Samsung's answer to Nokia Lifeblog. I had been involved with this project when I was at Samsung - honestly I didn't know it was going to take this long for Samsung to launch Life Diary.

LifeDiary, developed by Samsung, allows users to compose a personal diary, which manages the user's photos and videos taken that day, the calls made, SMS messages sent, contacts and any specific appointments throughout the day.

I'm sure Samsung Life Diary changed a lot since last time I was involved in the project (Fall '06), but some features we were planning at the time included visualizing social graph based on frequency of mobile phone communications, quick mobile blogging with rich content generated on mobile phone, etc. I'll try to get some more information on Life Diary and write a follow up post.
TAG CTIA, Life Diary, Samsung, second Life

Mobile WiMax to be deployed in Japan

Mobile | 2008/03/04 00:38 | Web 2.0 Asia
Maeil Business News (link in Korean) reports that Samsung Electronics has been selected as the mobile Wimax equipment provider for UQ Communications, a Japanese mobile broadband service company that's related to Japan's #2 wireless carrier KDDI.

Samsung is also providing mobile Wimax equipment and technologies to Sprint Nextel of the US. Samsung, along with Intel, has been extensively involved with mobile Wimax technologies.

It's expected that mobile Wimax service will be deployed in Japan in 2009, but the service will likely face a tough competition with other high-speed mobile internet standards like "Super 3G" from Docomo, the top dog.

In Korea, mobile Wimax (called "Wibro" here) is struggling to have a market presence. Wibro users are far outnumbered by HSDPA users in Korea. With the recent rise of LTE (Long-term Evolution) as the possible de facto standard for All-IP 4G, mobile Wimax (or Wibro) might find itself in a difficult position, stuck between HSDPA and LTE.

TAG HSDPA, mobile wimax, Samsung, UQ communications, Wibro, WiMax

Is Sony showing cold shoulders to Samsung?

Other | 2008/02/29 15:45 | Web 2.0 Asia
Sony announced it will "invest nearly $1bn in rival Sharp's newest liquid crystal display factory in a bid to meet growing demand for flat-panel televisions and diversify its supply chain".

Now, some Korean folks find this news a bit troubling, thinking this might be a signal that Sony is trying to keep some distance from its rival-cum-partner Samsung.

The thing is, Sony and Samsung had already co-invested billions of dollars in the LCD panel manufacturing joint-venture called S-LCD. Sony has been purchasing LCD panels mainly from S-LCD, and it was naturally expected Sony would make further investment in the joint venture in which the comany had already invested in over a billion dollars. But instead of S-LCD, Sony invested in Sharp - which, to Korea's provincial government, means bilions of dollars of lost FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) opportunity.

To me, Sony's move seems a purely business decision, rather than anything of a nationalistic nature. But some Korean media also expresses concerns that the Japanese electronics giants might be joining forces together (there have been lots of M&A activities in the Japanese electronics industry lately) to seek edge over their Korean rivlas - namely Samsung and LG - amid Samsung's recent difficulties with corruption investigation.

I don't know if Japanese electronics giants are indeed on to gaining turf lost to Korean rivals. I don't know who will eventually come out as a winner in this fierce battle taking place in the global consumer electronics market. But what I do know is that I don't want to be in consumer electronics business. I want to be in iPod business, which not many Korean or Japanese companies seem to be in now.
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TAG LCD TV, Samsung, Sony
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Maeil Business News (link in Korean) has an in-depth report on the magic hand behind Samsung's design elegance, Mr Jasper Morrison.

Until not long ago, Samsung was a no-name producer of cheap electronics goods. But it's now a symbol of innovation with huge brand value and revenues (#3 among all IT companies in the world, behind only HP and Siemens). One of the key factors for Samsung's dramatic ascend was excellent product design.

To bring it up a notch, Samsung has hired Mr Morrison and let him design Samsung products. Mr Morrison's design philosophy is known to be "Super Normal" - i.e. elegant yet simple and milimalistic. True to this philosophy, Morrison designed some of Samsung's mobile phones (one shown below) and refrigerators.

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Under Morrison's design leadership, Samsung is expected to produce more "Super Normal" products in the future. Does this mean we can expect something as game-changing as the iPod, from Samsung? I surely hope so.
TAG Jasper Morrison, Samsung

Samsung's pan-Asian social network service opens

Web 2.0 | 2007/02/24 12:45 | Web 2.0 Asia
Uberme, a -like blogging/social networking service from Samsung Mobile, has launched. Featurewise, it's got the whole pakcage; videos, photos, blogs, groups, etc. But the key differentiator of Uberme might be its focus on mobile: Uberme aims to provide as good an user experience on mobile phones as on the online.

All in all, the service looks similar to Myspace and Bebo. But then, none of the big name social network services of the US have established a very strong foothold in the Asian market, perhaps except for Windows Live Spaces. This gives Uberme a chance to become a big player in Asia. Uberme is available in 8 Asian countries and now they are doing an interesting promotion called "Uberhot: In search of Asia's hottest guys and gals". Samsung could be the right company to provide this kind of service, given its mobile phones are sold everywhere in Asia.

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Uberme.com main page

Although I'm the CEO of a 20 person company now, up until 4 months ago I was with a 200,000 person company - guess where, Samsung. When I was at Samsung Mobile, I was part of this Uberme project. The team behind Uberme, based in Korea and Singapore, are of "uber" quality both professionally and personally.

Team's quality aside, I should ask the long-term viability of this service (Being outside of Samsung, now I can be more objective). Will a manufacturer-driven service be more successful than that of the specialty players (i.e.Youtube for video, Flickr for photo, etc)? For example, If I had bought a Sony digital camcorder, even if Sony offered a video hosting and sharing service, I would probably just want to post my videos up on Youtube than on Sony's service.

Obviously Apple is an exception here: their device-service integration (iPod-iTunes, iMac-Mac.com) have been enormously successful. So, taking a page from Apple's playbook, Samsung will have to do two things very well to make its Uberme service a hit across the Asia: Make a damn good service, and have the service combined with devices (ie. Samsung's superb mobile phones) seamlessly and beautifully.

Samsung launches mobile phone with built-in mouse

Mobile | 2006/12/21 12:42 | Web 2.0 Asia
Samsung Electronics has launched SCH-V960 (currently sold only in Korea) that supports a new way of navigating the phone menus. The central navigation button of SCH-V960 has a touch sensor, allowing the navigation buttons double as a "finger mouse". The finger mouse works just like touchpad on notebook computers. User can also customize the menus on the desktop.

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