Samsung optimistic on smart phone opportunity

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Apr 21, 2009 - Page 12

South Korean electronics maker Samsung Electronics Co on Sunday forecast that the full-feature handset market would surge from 170 million units this year to 500 million units worldwide in 2012, a press statement released by its joint venture Samsung Mobile Display Co said yesterday.

Ryu Jae-hyun, director of the electronic company’s mobile marketing department in Taipei, vowed to seize a 30 percent market share in Taiwan by the end of the year, up from the current 19 percent, riding on total sales of between 6.5 million and 6.6 million units.

“This year alone, Samsung plans to roll out eight handsets in the first half and another 12 to 15 handsets in the second half,” he said.

Ryu’s estimates exceeded Merrill Lynch analysts Laura Chen (陳佳儀) and Daniel Kim’s earlier projection that Samsung would unveil between 10 and 20 Windows mobile-based smart phone models this year. In addition, Samsung Mobile Display said that smart phones with access to the Internet and a slew of other functions have witnessed increasing sales, while the simple mobile phone market lagged behind.

“Smart phones will make up 29 percent of the industry by 2012, compared with 14 percent in 2009,” the display maker’s statement said.

The display maker also expected touch-screens to become mainstream, prompting their wide adoption in mobile phones, digital cameras, global positioning system devices and media players, adding that 50 percent of the small digital devices produced in 2013 would use touch-screen technology.

Samsung Mobile Display also said that organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) would be used with 50 percent of all mobile phones over the next five years.

OLED displays are lighter and thinner and provide better picture quality, but are far more expensive than alternatives, such as liquid-crystal-displays.

Samsung Mobile Display, a joint venture between Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI, was launched in January.

It specializes in the production and development of small to medium-sized panels. Research by US-based Strategy Analytics Inc showed that the total global handset market (simple handsets and smart phones combined) grew 4.9 percent in shipment volume to 1.18 billion units last year, from 1.12 billion units in 2007.

Nokia and Samsung claimed the top two spots last year with a market share of 39.8 percent and 16.7 percent respectively on shipments of 468.4 million and 196.6 million units each, Strategy Analytics’ data showed.