Samsung sets sights on low and high end of handset market

Despite growing its share of the global handset market from 14.6 percent in the second quarter of 2008 to almost 20 percent in the second quarter of this year, Samsung is concerned that its remains a step behind in both high-end smartphones and low-end devices for the developing world, according to a BusinessWeek interview with Samsung executives.

J.K. Shin, the head of Samsung's Mobile Communications division, told the publication that the company still had a long way to go in the global cell phone market. Indeed, Samsung barely registers in the white-hot worldwide smartphone market--the company's share sits at 3.5 percent, according to Strategy Analytics. The company also trails Nokia in low-end handsets for developing markets. Thus, Shin said Samsung plans to refocus on both the high end and the low end of the handset market.

Indeed, Samsung has made a splash in the high end in recent months. The company introduced a new touchscreen device, the Jet, in June, in an attempt to launch an iconic phone with style and flare. The phone has a 3.1-inch AMOLED touchscreen and runs Samsung's new TouchWiz 2.0 user interface. The device is part of the company's effort to increase its touchscreen offerings; Samsung has said that 30 to 35 percent of the 150 phones it will release this year will have touchscreens.

Samsung's dual focus on the low and high end is backed up by recent market research. According to new data from Juniper Research, the market for mid-tier phones will continue to shrink over the next few years: By 2014, low-cost phones and smartphones are expected to make up 79 percent of the total handset market, or just over 1 billion units.

For more:
- see this BusinessWeek article

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