Samsung sets sights on mobile computing

New Samsung printers and laptops spearhead the company's expanded push into the corporate and consumer markets

Samsung Electronics hopes it can extend its leading position in the computer monitor market into the printer and laptop PC sectors this year, a senior executive said Monday at the Cebit trade show in Germany.

"Our mission is to become a top-tier IT company with a leading position in both the business and consumer markets," said Jongwoo Park, president of Samsung's digital media business, at a news conference. "We are already the global leader in monitors and now plan to extend that leadership to printing and mobile computing."

Samsung secured the number one position in the LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor market in the third quarter of last year when it knocked Dell off the top spot -- a position Dell had held uninterrupted since 2004 -- and became the first stand-alone brand to lead the market since 2002, according to DisplaySearch. Samsung is the world's largest manufacturer of LCD panels and it's been able to use this technology lead to push its monitor business.

On Monday it set out ambitious targets for its mobile computing business.

"Our goal this year is to double the number of units sold," said Park. "In the past we pioneered the thin and light segment. This year we wanted to offer greater choice to business so we expanded our range to include more robust and durable models for office and mobile customers.

The Intel Core2Duo-based, P-series laptops will spearhead Samsung's push into the corporate market and be available in several models ranging from the P200 with a 12.1-inch widescreen display to the P500 with a 15.4-inch display. Networking features include 802.11g wireless LAN and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR. An on-site warranty is also being offered with the computers.

In the printing sector it launched 22 products that expand its printer range to cover the corporate market in addition to consumer and SMB (small and medium-sized business) products.

They include the MultiXpress 6555N, which Samsung says is the fastest A4 digital multi-function printer in the world at 53 monochrome pages per minute, and the MultiXpress C8380ND, which can manage color printing at 38 pages per minute.

Samsung also showed off a monitor that it previewed at January's International Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. The SyncMaster 2263DX is a 22-inch LCD monitor with an additional 7-inch display that can be attached to any of the four sides of the monitor or set alongside the main screen on a desk. Samsung envisages the sub-display being used for applications such as monitoring instant message conversations, displaying video or keeping track of stock prices.

No prices or launch dates for any of the products were immediately available.

Samsung's push into the printer and PC markets comes at a time when some analysts are warning of tough times ahead in the monitor sector. Intense competition in the business has meant that brand-name monitor vendors have been under constant pressure to reduce prices and as a result profit margins have been squeezed. Samsung is in a slighter better position than competitors because its one of the few monitor makers that also manufactures the LCD panels.

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