SAMSUNG PUSHES ENVELOPE ON HANDSET FORM FACTOR, NOT TO MENTION ENHANCED
(PCS Week; 04/07/99)
Apr. 07, 1999 (PCS WEEK, Vol. 10, No. 14 via COMTEX) -- Mobile handsets in
sleek, compact form factors have been described as "wearable" for some time,
and now "wrist-worn" models- first developed by Japanese manufacturers but
never offered for sale- may be poised to become the next big wireless hit.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has announced that its CDMA-based "watch phone" is
scheduled to go on the South Korean market in April.
The SPH-WP10 model, one of several new additions to the manufacturer's
product line, features an ear microphone as well as several technological
innovations that may turn up in competitors' handset offerings in the years to
come: a tiny fixed antenna, a miniature duplexer and a baseband analog
processor chip that's about as small as they come. The combination phone and
digital watch isn't really all that small on the wrist-it measures 67
millimeters (mm) by 58 mm by 20 mm-but weighs just 50 grams with a battery
To hear Samsung tell it, the SPH-WP10 isn't sacrificing much on the
functionality side despite its size. It will offer voice- activated dialing, a
phone directory and a vibration alert, with talk and standby times coming in at
90 minutes and 60 hours, respectively.
...A New Definition Of Dual-Mode
Samsung expects the SPH-WP10 to be a hit with younger wireless users.
However, the watch phone's novelty may tend to overshadow the rollout of its
new touch-screen handset designed to combine the functions of mobile phones and
personal digital assistants. Samsung billed this offering, also due on the
market in April, as an "Internet phone" and said it expects to sell 1 million
units in Korea and internationally this year.
Developed at a cost of $4.4 million, Samsung's Internet phone packs
technology licensed from Unwired Planet Inc. and Tegic Communications,
providing Web access and intuitive text messaging capabilities. Another key
feature is a very generous amount of internal memory for specialized
applications running on the 30 mm by 70 mm touchscreen. In this case, the
phone shows its cultural roots with a few included features that would probably
not make it into a future North American release. In addition to an 80,000-
word English- Korean dictionary and 50,000-word Korean-English dictionary, the
phone offers an extensive library of scriptural texts and liturgical music for
either Christian or Buddhist worship, making it in all probability the world's
first dual-faith handset.
The handset also offers storage for up to 2,000 addresses, a 12- month
personal calendar, and as many as 100 memos at a time. Finally, there is a
built-in engineering calculator that can handle trigonometry, exponential
equations and statistical functions.
...Samsung Aiming At Strategies For "Nearly Saturated" Market
The watch phone and Internet phone represent the first products to emerge
from Samsung's market segmentation strategy, designed to respond to what it
called "nearly saturated" conditions in the Korean wireless handset market.
These conditions demand "new marketing approaches" to gain additional domestic
market share, Samsung said.
In larger terms, the new mobile devices are part and parcel of Samsung's
marketing thrust to move closer to the top echelon of handset manufacturers-
Nokia Corp. [NOK/A], Motorola Inc. [MOT], L.M. Ericsson AB [ERICY] and
Panasonic, the brand name for models produced by Matsushita Communication
Industrial Co. Ltd. Samsung, which started up CDMA handset production in
Brazil earlier this month with the aim of turning out 400,000 units a year for
the Latin American market, said it sold 7.4 million wireless handsets last
year, translating into a 3.7 percent share of the global market.