Canadians tend to lag behind many other countries as it pertains to wireless handheld device, according to Paul Brannen, general manager, wireless terminals division, Samsung Electronics Canada.
However, he sees this as a great opportunity for Samsung Canada to increase its market share for wireless devices.
The country is only 60 per cent penetrated in wireless handheld adoption, which is one of the reason why the company will release a finger-touch operated smart phone called Instinct later on this year.
There are three main factors for smart phone adoption in Canada. Brannen said that as new people enter the workforce they are more comfortable with cell phones than land line phones. “More than 70 per cent of wireless calls today are made near a wired line,” he said.
Secondly, Facebook and other social networking applications are becoming more prevalent on wireless devices along with email. “I think 36 per cent of wireless devices in 2008 and 2009 will be PDAs or smart phones so the traditional flip phone is changing and competitors are evolving their product portfolio,” he said.
Finally, wireless handset vendors are also looking to produce feature rich handsets. “We are innovating with quality devices. We had the slide technology and the ability to take core LCD and MP3 into a business device and drive the marketplace forward,” he said.
Part of Samsung Canada’s strategy in this market place will be to have multi-function devices that can bring multimedia and communication together in one device. Brannen said that people are used to keypads, while there is a move towards touch pads. The Instinct will have a touch activated qwerty keyboard.Samsung’s Instinct offers localized haptic feedback and a new level of customization by allowing the user to access their favourite applications with a single touch. A full qwerty keyboard will use the haptic response technology to be able to recognize the touch selection.
The new Instinct will also feature a turn-by-turn navigation system, high speed Web browser, video capturing and a high speed network for social networking capability.
The new device is similar to the Apple iPhone, but Brannen said that what is more important than the look is that the market place is moving towards touch.“This is not a me-too product and we are not following along. We are addressing the consumer market place and there are three others with touch technology in the market place so we are just addressing the needs of the market,” he said.
As far as business goes, the Instinct will be positioned as a voice centric device first and a data device second, Brannen said.
However, he does believe that third party channel players will enable it with push email capabilities along with other offerings.
Brannen added that Samsung Canada has also realized that there is a product lifecycle to these devices. Last year Samsung rolled out 16 new devices and 10 of them will come out of the market, while six will continue. “People will upgrade handsets from 18 to 24 months now and certain technologies such as GSM are even more pervasive to switch. You can pull out the Simm card of a Blackberry at night and switch it to a phone,” he said.
About 50 per cent of the business today for Samsung Canada is in hardware upgrades.