From nowhere two years ago mobile maker Samsung has captured 20pc of the Irish handset market. Gary Twohig is country manager at Samsung Mobile.
Your latest Jet device, which will compete directly with the iPhone, comes with an 800Mhz processor compared to the iPhone’s 600Mhz. Is speed the essence?
People want to be able to access information quickly. Expectations are getting higher. People are also getting impatient with applications. The 800Mhz processor ensures a quicker experience than with most smart phones.
Is this need for speed also being driven by the Twitter generation who want information in quick bursts?
Definitely, and you’ll see more Wi-Fi beginning to appear on handsets. It will happen in the same way as with Bluetooth. Once Bluetooth used to be something special, but today if a phone doesn’t come with Bluetooth no one wants it.
Wi-Fi broadband connectivity on handsets will become standard on both post-pay and pre-pay devices.
How are mobile operators doing in terms of targeting the latest devices and working with manufacturers?
Operators are finding it a very competitive marketplace right now. Without the operators, the manufacturers like Samsung wouldn’t have a market and vice versa. It’s a mutual relationship.
This will matter more and more in the coming months, as operators and consumers will determine the applications and the content that they want to appear on devices. The Jet device will debut with Vodafone and will be available through Carphone Warehouse from August.
People are doing more and more with their mobile handsets and, as we saw in Iran, these devices have brought about a revolution in citizen reporting. Do you see this trend expanding?
For sure. This is why manufacturers are putting more work into the radios and the speed of processors on their phones. Many devices today are capable of streaming live movies from anywhere and very soon this will become commonplace on most consumer and business handsets.
To stay competitive, we have to recognise that this market is there and every phone will require live streaming systems as well as other widgets that ensure speedy transmission of data.
What other major trends to you see impacting on the mobile market?
Near field communications (NFC) is a technology that will start revolutionising how people pay for goods and services. In France, we are trialling handsets that allow people to make credit card payments via their mobile device.
Rather than trying to find coins or cash to pay for the Luas, just swipe your NFC-enabled mobile device over a sensor and it registers you’ve paid for a ticket.
What changes can we expect to see on Samsung smart phone devices in the coming year?
The division between business devices and consumer smart phone devices is disappearing and people want one device, rather than two, that fits into their business and personal life.
As well as this, we will be introducing new device families that are powered by Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 7 as well as Google’s Android operating system.
We have managed to grow our market share 40pc year- on-year and achieved a 20pc market share. Our plan is to reach 30pc this year and we will soon launch the first of our pre-pay devices.
By John Kennedy