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Samsung Enters U.S. PC Market

Ridgefield Park, N.J. — Samsung today entered the PC market in the United States with the launch of a collection of notebooks.

The line will be sold through distributions, etailers and direct market retailers, but will not reach 

big box retailers until next year, the company said.

Dave McFarland, Samsung’s senior product marketing manager, mobile computing products told TWICE that the company’s decision to keep its notebooks out of the big box channel at first is based on its desire to enter the U.S. computer market slowly (the company already sells PCs in other countries.)

“We’re getting in a little late in the U.S. market,” he said, adding the company is planning to take it slow for now with a “plan to erupt into the market next year.”

McFarland reported that “Retailers applaud our effort not to be overly aggressive and storm the channel.” He explained that the U.S. market is “totally different” than overseas markets where Samsung already sells branded computers. “We don’t want to be arrogant and use the brand as an excuse [for moving too quickly],” he said.

The majority of the company’s models feature price points of $1,000 and up, save for its netbook product which carries a suggested retail of $499.

McFarland said that in general the company is not playing into the entry level space. Instead, he said they are looking for an audience that will appreciate a combination of “design, value and technology” that lower priced products can’t generally provide.

Speaking on the company’s decision to enter the entry-level netbook space, McFarland explained the category “is booming [and] we want to be part of that boom.”

Beyond his company’s own netbook entry, McFarland said the rapid growth of these miniature Atom-based computers across the board is almost “scary” because he’s “not sure if customers understand the limitations of these notebooks.” He explained that while sales in the category have been “astronomical,” he’s concerned some people may be “buying them without thinking, based on price point,” without fully determining whether the device will meet their computing needs. “It all depends on how educated the consumer is when they purchase them,” he said.

Nonetheless, he said he is “excited to dive in” and see what happens in the space long-term.

Samsung’s NC10 netbook is available in white or metallic blue. It features a 10.2-inch screen, weighs 2.8 pounds, runs on an Intel Atom processor and comes with a Windows XP Home operating system. Other features include a 160GB standard hard drive and a 6-cell battery. As McFarlane said, the device is intended for “consumption not creation.” It retails for a suggested $499.

In addition to its N-Series netbook offerings, Samsung is also unveiling it’s Q-, R-, and X-series of notebooks that will be targeted at consumer, business and prosumer users, as well as its P-series which a company spokesperson said will be targeted exclusively at business users. Suggested pricing on these models range from $1,049 (for the R610, said to be appropriate for entry-level gamers) up to $2,499 (for the highest-end X-series thin-and-light models.)