Looking to slice into the hot slim phone market, electronics giant Samsung announced new ultra-thin handset models it hopes will win it more U.S. market share.
The South Korean giant will be shipping what it calls the slimmest mobile phones in America with its t509 model that is less than 10 millimeters thick.
The design picks up on the success of Motorola’s popular Razr phones, which helped start the slim trend two years ago, and will stack up against Motorola’s new Slvr model, as well as thin competition from Nokia, which is expected to announce a slim phone offering this month.
Analysts indicated the ultra-thin mobile phone market is definitely big with consumers, who might be more interested in form than in function with these new, slick designs.
“Right now, it’s not the most wowing phone to use, but it is the most wowing phone to look at,” Ovum Vice President of Wireless Telecoms Roger Entner told TechNewsWorld. “People like slim phones, and people buy with their eyes.”
Motorola led the way with its Razr model in 2004, and now most handset manufacturers are following the company’s lead.
“Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery,” Entner said.
Despite technical glitches that forced a halt, fix and resumption of Razr sales last month, industry observers said the market is already moving to Motorola’s new Slvr, and the Razr issues were largely insignificant in terms of affecting the phones’ popularity.
Entner indicated the greatest challenge for handset makers now is differentiating their phones from competitors’ as they all move toward ultra-slim designs.
With skinny new designs coming from Motorola, Samsung, and Nokia — the world’s top three mobile phone makers — there is no question that thin is in, Gartner Research Vice President Phil Redman told TechNewsWorld.
“The challenge is trying to add more capability into that model,” he said.
Samsung is well-equipped for the task given its experience in smartphones and integration, Redman added.
“They’ve done a very good job with handsets, and they’ve had success in gaining market share,” he said, indicating the company’s profile is not as big in the U.S. as it is overseas.
Samsung, and all of the other equipment manufacturers looking to bulk up on slim offerings, face a significant challenge: time to market, according to Redman.
“The challenge these guys all have is the decreased time to market,” he said. With the increased competition in the space, the quality challenges are difficult to balance.
“They can’t take 18 months like they could two or three years ago,” concluded Redman.