By Sharil Abdul Rahman
Vincent with the new Samsung Galaxy S3Just recently grabbing the reins of the mobile division in Samsung Malaysia Electronics (SME), Vincent Chong originally came from the consumer goods line, and being in the mobile consumer division is a very interesting life for him, as it is much more fast paced and products has shorter shelve life and product life cycle than ever before. With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3 (SGS3), we sat down with him to talk on SME's outlook on the smartphone market locally here in Malaysia
PC: What do you expect the SGS3 to be in your product line? The hero product? The ultimate phone? Biggest sale?
V: It will be our flagship product in our lineup, and it will be sold with the rest of our portfolio, including the S2. Yes, we are not stopping the production of the S2 as we think the interest and demand is still is there by the consumer worldwide. The focus right now will be on the S3 by the company. We are focusing on the smart phone aspect to compare with our other products. With the S3, we want to focus on the 'Effortlessly Smart and Intuitively Simple' part of the phone. Its design also focuses on the fact of the phone is designed to be on the go, and it has the balance of the right size in the hand and still big to do many stuff at the same time.
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PC: The design of the phone wasn't as revolutionary as expected by some quarters out there. Your comment on this?
V: Its not revolutionary nor it is evolutionary in design, but the main point is that it is inspired by nature. If you look at it, you can see that it has similar elements to a pebble. This also reflects in the looks of the phone as it is thin, making it easier to be held by the users in their hands. Therefore the idea behind the design is nature inspired.
PC: Why the focus on Human Interaction with the SGS3?
V: We have always been focusing on the human factors in our phone design since the earliest of times. The interface has always been our priority in our products. Its is more that the design is more than ever inspired by nature now, and when the interface was design, we always go back to what the user wants, and it ties back to the needs of the user in the end to ensure the success of the product.
PC: Do you think the SGS3 represent the best that Samsung can offer at this point of time?
V: Definitely. We feel that the S3 is the best in its class currently. We also feel that it will outperfom the Galaxy S and Galaxy S2. With its concept of being 'Effortlessly Smart and Intuitively Simple', the S3 we feel will dominate the market with its excellent performance and good looks.
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PC: Some sectors of the market feels that the TouchWiz UI burdens the users with too much information being barraged and also it can slow down the phone usability in a day-to-day basis. Can you comment on this?
V: The TouchWiz was designed based from feedback garnered from consumers when we asked them what do they want, in terms of features they can see in a phone. The resulting product is what you can see on the TouchWiz UI on our products today. With TouchWiz 4, it has seen improvements since the first version we released before. Most of the devices in our portfolio will be receiving the new update in the upcoming months with the updates are in development to fit the devices.
PC: With the new suing by Samsung towards Apple, do you think this will escalate or degenerate the quality of mobile phones production worldwide?
V: Samsung has invested deeply in research & development over the years, which have given the success what we have today. The current litigation that the company is facing will not affect our phone design what so ever and Samsung will continue to bring innovations to the market regardless.
PC: Do you think we will see more and more cheap smartphones with high end functionalities and capabilities appear in the market?
V: We will develop phones that will fit certain markets and requirements, thus different spectrum of users will have its own product category from Samsung.
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PC: Will there be an LTE version of Samsung products in the market soon?
V: We think that the ecosystem needs to be in place and ready before we can come into the market with the relevant products. As it is we feel that the market will be ready by 2013 the earliest.When the market is shifting into the new band, we will be ready to help drive this with the help of the local telco operators.
PC: How is Samsung Mobile doing in the Malaysian Market?
V: Samsung Malaysia is doing very well, with 2012 being a good performing world for the company. When we launched the Samsung Galaxy S2, we sold 20 million units within 10 months. We are expecting the new S3 to perform better, if not the same as the sale success of the Samsung Galaxy S2.
V: The people who will buy the S3 would have the combination of being tech savvy, knowledgable in their needs and wants in a smart phone and in the younger age bracket, that wants the best of the best of the latest, right now and here.
PC: How does it feel that Samsung has acheived the number one market share globally for smartphone?
V: We are humbled, but also we cant rest on our laurels as we need to satisfy the consumer in the end, thus we need to ensure that we deliver what the consumer want.
PC: Do you feel your product are made to give the consumers the best features they can have now from the future, or its just something that what consumer expects from Samsung?
V: Our innovation is basically a combination of what was stated, and all of our deliverables and introduced products are tested, to meet the expectations of the consumers. We also saw that our local users have similar tastes with the rest of the world in terms of expectations features and design.
PC: Will we see more of non-android products coming into the Malaysian market soon? Bada/WP & et al?
V: We have our multi-platform strategy and Android is our main focus right now. However we are also not forgetting our platforms as we belive that each platform has its own focus market. We have our Bada OS and Windows Phone 7 products in the pipeline, but as for now, the S3 is our focus product.
PC: What do you see happening in the smartphone market locally, in terms of trends?
V: We are seeing more migration to the smartphone product line by users who are coming in from the featurephone segment. Hence why we have a range of products to fit the needs of each segment.
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