Las Vegas – Samsung Telecommunications
America (STA) will bring smartphones to the mass market in 2010, when
voice-centric cellphones will account for less than 50 percent of U.S. cellular
unit shipments for the first time, Samsung executives said during press
conference, here, yesterday morning.
In 2008, voice-centric phones – which exclude smartphones and quick-messaging
phones with hard or virtual QWERTY keyboards – accounted for 68 percent of unit
shipments, said STA president Dale Sohn.
Samsung will contribute to the trend by bringing smartphone
functionality to the mass market, chief strategy officer Omar Khan said.
In its “smartphone for
everyone” strategy, smartphone capabilities will no longer be limited to phones
at premium prices, he said. Smartphones have been defined as high-end devices
with an open operating system, but consumers consider a phone smart if it
offers full Web access, ability to sync personal and corporate email and
calendars, and customization via third-party apps and widgets, Khan said.
“In 2010, we will bring
that to the mass market,” Khan said.
Samsung, for example, will
participate in AT&T’s plans to use Qualcomm’s Brew MP OS in quick-messaging
devices to deliver smartphone functions at a low price, he noted.
Underscoring the market’s shift away from voice-centric phones, Samsung
said that more than half of its phones will ship in the U.S. in 2010 with Digital Living Network
Alliance (DLNA) certification to share content with other devices, including
PCs and TVs.
Low-price smartphones and DLNA certification are part of an
overall strategy to capture a greater share of U.S. replacement sales, which
account for more than 90 percent of all phones sold, said Sohn. The average
phone is replaced every 21 months, he said.
In 2009, Samsung estimates industrywide U.S. cellphone shipments rose 1percent
to 2 percent despite the recession to more than 167 million units, Sohn said.
In 2010, shipments will rise another percent to 4 percent, he said. Dollar
volume estimates were unavailable.
In this environment, Samsung grew its sales by gaining market
share, the company said. For the fifth consecutive quarter ending in the third
quarter of 2009, Samsung was on top in unit share, with shares ranging from
22.2 percent to 25.4 percent, the latest Strategy Analytics statistics show.
In other comments, Samsung said it expects Mobile DTV-equipped
cellphones incorporating an ATSC M/H TV tuner will feature DVR capabilities. A
modified Samsung phone to be used in Mobile DTV trials this year won’t feature
a DVR, but when Mobile DTV service launches commercially, consumers can expect to
see DVR-equipped TV-phones, said Khan. He acknowledged, however, that digital
rights management (DRM) issues must still be worked out.
The company also launched its “March for a Million Phones”
recycling program under which it plans to collect and recycle 1 million phones
of any brand by year’s end, said chief marketing officer Paul Golden. The
campaign includes recycling bins at all Samsung-sponsored events as well as an
in-school education program.