A new Galaxy…

A new Galaxy…

Simon Stanford

Simon Stanford, MD mobile UK and Ireland, Samsung

Samsung’s mobile business has fundamentally changed over the last 12 months, as it has embraced the advent of the smartphone and tablet with enthusiasm. Its Galaxy smartphones and tablets have flown off the shelves, getting good reviews and being praised for the high quality engineering behind them. Here, Simon Stanford, managing director for mobile in the UK and Ireland at Samsung, explains what this company is up to next.

Samsung’s Galaxy brand really has opened up a universe of opportunities for the company. The intergalactic success that the manufacturer has had with this family of devices began with its Galaxy S smartphone, launched in June last year.

“There’s a lot of focus now on smartphones, and we launched our first one last summer. It’s been very successful for us,” remarked Stanford.

Top of the world

The Galaxy S II has just launched, and recently hit the headlines for the world’s highest social networking updates. British born climber, Kenton Cool, made the first ever 3G connection and Tweet from the summit of Mount Everest on his Galaxy S II. He made a 3G call to home, Tweeted and posted a photo to Twitpic, and updated his Facebook status, marking his ninth successful expedition to the summit.

 

Samsung has also had a lot of success with its first tablet device, the seven inch Galaxy Tab. Stanford says this device has generated a lot of interest in the healthcare, banking and education sectors. “I believe the greatest demand for these small tablets will come from the business side of things, but the consumer sees it as multi media device for entertainment.”

On the tablet space, Stanford states: “The tablet category hasn’t been defined yet. There is a market for tablets, and there is room there for us, as well as the likes of iPad.”

 

Tablet mania

Over the next few months, we will see this seveninch device joined by another two, differentiated from the first purely on size. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch display model is due out in June, followed by the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9-inch, out in July. Both will be available on the Android Honeycomb operating system, which has been developed purely for tablets.

Commenting on the two new Galaxy Tabs, Stanford says: “Consumers want an open platform, with Flash and multi tasking, that will do whatever they want it to do, when they want to do it. We’re confident that what we’ve got coming out will fit this bill. There’s a huge opportunity for new tablets, especially on the smaller sizes for commuters. We won’t change the market overnight; Apple is still the dominant player. But we will have three tablets out.”

Each tablet is hitting the shelves fully loaded with everything the consumer might need to get them started, says Stanford. “As with smartphones, if you utilise all the functionality of a tablet in the first 30 days, you’ll get a very good experience. So we are making sure these new tablets are preloaded with everything the user needs, including Microsoft Office.

“The Galaxy S is now being upgraded from Android 2.2 (Froyo) to Android 2.3, otherwise known as Gingerbread. The Galaxy Tab will also be upgraded to Gingerbread over coming weeks. It is all about providing faster performance and better usability to customers,” says Stanford.

 

Best of the best

“We have been spending time identifying who is buying our products,” says Stanford. “We want to be known for the best hardware, the best and latest operating systems, and the latest and most relevant content, such as music, games and books.

“We’re really making sure that we have what people want to download, when they want to download it. Hardware is critical, but we are very much into the content space at the moment,” he continues.

“Our distribution strategy was reviewed to make sure we were really supporting our partners. We made sure we had got a three-year content strategy, which is now in place. In terms of our overall brand perception in the UK, that is very strong. The Galaxy brand is going through the roof. However, we now have plans for a very different brand strategy, which you’ll soon see coming through.”

Stanford explains: “Historically, we would advertise when new products came out. We are changing that to an ‘always on’ advertising strategy, heavy online and digitally. So rather than spend a huge amount of money when new products come out and then disappearing, we will now give consumers a strong brand presence for Samsung always, on both content and products.

“We’re in a very different place from where we were even 10 months ago,” comments Stanford.

Going forward, Samsung will be concentrating on developing the Galaxy brand in the UK, continuing to develop its smartphone strategy as well as its tablet and feature phone product sets, and making sure it is providing the best of its technology across its entire portfolio.

“This is a very exciting time for us!” Stanford exclaims. “We are in the best place to be right now. The level of ambition Samsung has is incredible. We have 40,000 people in R&D alone, and of those, 16,000 are PhDs. You can’t beat that.”