Having just announced the follow-up to last year's most successful smartphone, you'd think that JK Shin would be a very busy man indeed, but he still managed to find some time for his friends over at the Wall Street Journal. In a short, but well-featured, Q&A from the Journal, Shin opens up about the Galaxy S IV but, also Samsung in general. The whole thing is well worth a read but, here are some of the best bits from this exchange.
First off we have Shin explaining his position on the new features in the Galaxy S IV in relation to Apple and the ongoing lawsuits:
"The Galaxy S 4 has features unique to Samsung like [Air Gesture] that detects hand gestures. In the process of developing and making the Galaxy S 4, we have filed around 120 patents related to user interface and software. We've also hired a number of software engineers from India, Russia, China and Europe to develop unique features internally."
To see Samsung finally wising up and not only creating its own patents but, taking the time to consult outside of the company is great. It's always a shame to see Samsung take inspiration from somewhere else as they've proved in the past that they can come up with original ideas.
While Samsung has quickly become known for their high-end offerings in the States, they also offer a range of low-end devices around the globe but Shin is keen to maintain that the US is a high-end market for them:
"We're quite active in the low-end smartphone market and we will continue to compete in this area. In the U.S. for example, our main focus is selling the Galaxy line of high-end smartphones."
There's been a lot of discussion about how "powerful" Samsung has become in the Android marketplace and how this might affect Google in a negative manner. There's often talk of Android being "nothing" without Samsung but, if you take a moment to think about it, it's perhaps the other way round. When the WSJ ask if relations between the two have changed, Shin simply said:
"We like Android and we plan to continue our good relations with Google. I don't think it's correct to say that there's friction."
Android is designed for this sort of thing and while there's no denying the Galaxy branding is in danger of overshadowing the Android name, Google are in no trouble here. If anything, it strengthens the platform as a whole.
A new area for Samsung is to be the business side of things and with the Galaxy S IV it looks like they're ready to march strongly into BlackBerry's workplace:
"We can't talk about specific corporate clients, but it's true we are pushing into the [business to business] market. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we introduced a new containerized security system called Knox. This allows users to keep their personal and work data separately. There is plenty of room to grow in this market and we'll be rolling it out globally."
It makes sense for Samsung to explore more markets like this, especially when there's growing concern that the smartphone market is fast approaching saturation point.
"Market competition is intense but it has always been like that even three to five years ago. With economies in China and Europe slowing down, we don't expect market conditions to recover in the first half of this year and even the second half of the year is a bit uncertain.
But we aim to grow faster than the overall smartphone market this year and expect shipments to be higher than 400 million units this year. We've already sold 50 million units of the Galaxy S III since its launch last year."
Samsung certainly seem confident with the launch of the Galaxy S IV, and with good reason, they might have only built on last year's Galaxy S III but, it appears they may have another hit on their hands, regardless.