The telecommunications branch of Samsung Electronics is the biggest manufacturer of mobile phones and mobile phone parts in the world. As a matter of fact, some of the iPhone components are supplied by Samsung. This is all rather surprising, considering Samsung phones have only recently started gaining ground in the market. Until this point Samsung was considered an excellent gadget producer for home electronics, but their phones were not exactly desirable.
Dramatic changes came about when Samsung tied up with a US telecommunications service provider, Sprint, and started supplying phones through them. In 1996, when the agreement had taken place, Samsung only produced CDMA phones. As a matter of fact, Samsung was at that time the largest manufacturer of CDMA phones worldwide, with a market share of almost 50%. The company was quick to realize that CDMA phones were the less popular option in mobile phones, while GSM was cornering the market. The obvious course of action lay in adopting the GSM technology into their line up, and that is exactly what transpired later.
It was a difficult market to break into, because till that point Samsung firstly supplied only the Asian and American markets, whilst the European markets were held in the firm grip of the European phone manufacturers, among them Nokia. However, Samsung finally launched their first GSM phone, which failed to excite any interest, as it was merely a remodelled CDMA device. If Samsung was to be able to penetrate successfully, they would need a new design, tailored to the tastes of the European consumers. Thus the range of Samsung’s GSM mobile phone range was born.
Today Samsung has a variety of phones that are available. The marketing strategy that has been adopted recently is to have the brand segmented into various sectors. Each sector, like business phones or multimedia phones for example, would then have a range in itself. This way the company managed to create mobile phones suited finely to one major purpose, while perhaps incorporating many smaller functions also. The strategy is reminiscent of Nokia’s exhaustive range of phones, but Samsung has nowhere near those many models.
However, Samsung phones, until very recently, have been uninspiring at best. The phones lacked the panache that the other manufacturers have managed to instil into their designs. Recently though, with the release of the Omnia phone, there has been an obvious shift in design and form. Slowly the phones are gaining in areas that were perhaps cosmetic, yet still important. The Omnia ended up being a turning point in the history of the phone manufacturer, changing the image of the mobile phones drastically.
In comparison to other brands, Samsung does not have a USP; the phones are mainly generic. For example, Nokia phones have brand identity, and Sony Ericsson has considerable strength in the multimedia area. HTC has created phones that appeal to a certain group, while Apple’s iPhone has become a benchmark in its own right. Samsung would be better served if their phones had one facet that differentiated them from the others.
One phone did capture the fancy of many individuals, especially those that are committed to the environment: Samsung’s Blue Earth. Blue Earth was the first phone that appeared to seamlessly merge the technology of the mobile phone with solar energy panels. The phone was dual powered, so it could be charged the conventional way too. However, the design was smooth and aesthetically pleasing, even though solar panels are usually bulky and cumbersome. The phone resembled a smooth pebble, keeping in character with the overall nature preservation theme.
If Samsung chooses to pursue the ecological angle in their phones, the brand will become synonymous with saving the Earth and preserving the environment. Certainly, this would set them apart from other brands altogether.
Samsung has had to contend with a great deal of competition; whether in its home Korean market, or in the global one. In spite of these formidable odds, the company has managed to carve a niche for itself; one which cannot be replaced by any other phone manufacturer. Samsung Telecommunications is certainly here to stay, especially as many of the other manufacturers would find it very inconvenient without Samsung’s support. Their products are of excellent quality, and more importantly the company seems to learn from its shortcomings, so their path has been one of continuous improvement throughout. Perhaps with the advent of newer technologies, Samsung will produce mobile phones that are truly masterpieces in every way.