LAS VEGAS – Nowadays, every TV manufacturer dreads being categorized as just another TV company. Samsung has a plan to combat the problem. And it might not be a bad plan.
The Korean giant is determined to leverage its current position as the world’s number one TV brand, the number one smartphone vendor, and one of the strongest semiconductor manufacturers. If the company plays its cards right, Samsung could be the latest company to rewrite the history of consumer electronics, which is traditionally plagued with a rat’s nest of disconnected devices.
Samsung is “bringing down boundaries among discrete [consumer] devices,” said Boo-Keun Yoon, president of Samsung's consumer electronics division based in Korea, at its press conference on Monday. Explaining its mission to let consumers “enjoy and share” all content across all Samsung devices, Yoon laid out the company’s plan for smart interaction, smart content and smart evolution.
No remote control?
Samsung hopes to leapfrog others by introducing three new user interfaces that include voice control, gestures and face recognition for its smart TVs. “You can interact with your TV without ever touching a remote control,” said Yoon.
More specifically, Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics in the United States, explained: “We will be the first to integrate a camera in our high-end TVs to enable smart interaction.” The embedded vision of Samsung’s TV enables gesture controls, and helps face recognition, which identifies each member of a family thus enabling each to log into his or her hub). The TV will also feature voice control capabilities.
Samsung’s smart TV, scheduled for a 2012 rollout, will come with a slot in the back panel, where the user can insert a module for future upgrades.
“It’s a credit-card size module integrated with Samsung’s dual-core processors,” said Baxter. By inserting the card in a slot of your TV, “you can be sure your TV won’t become obsolete next year.”
While Samsung is keeping mum on specifics of the chips that go inside the module, Baxter claimed, “This is something only a vertically integrated company – armed with its own semiconductor business like ours – can pull off.”
Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics in the United States, talks of Samsung's advantage as a vertically integrated company -- complete with its own semiconductor business. Samsung TV: preferred platform for developers?
Samsung has been holding “Free the TV challenge” for the last few years.
The idea is to make TVs not just smarter but to push its boundaries to be more than a smart TV, according to the company. In fact, Samsung’s latest challenge to developers is to create “multi-screen apps” that take advantage of mobiles, tablets and smart TVs.
According to Baxter, since Samsung began its smart TV efforts a few years ago, the number of developers writing apps to Samsung’s smart TV has grown from 500 to 25,000. “We have become the preferred TV platform for the developer community,” claimed Baxter.
Clearly, Samsung’s strong market share both in mobile phones and tablets plays a critical role in enabling its multi-screen strategy on the smart TV platform.
“We see our role in making consumer’s life simpler, smarter and more enjoyable,” concluded Yoon.
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