By Patrick Avenell
SYDNEY, NSW: Telstra, Vodafone and Optus will have access to the Samsung Galaxy S II when it is released later this year. This will be the Korean supplier's flagship mobile handset release, according to Samsung Australia head of marketing Lambro Skropidis.
In addition to this piece of news, Skropidis reiterated Samsung's ongoing commitment to its proprietary Bada operating system, emphasised Samsung's role in the marketing of the Google Nexus S and predicted a shake-up to the convergent technology/music industries.
Samsung sold over 10 million Galaxy handsets in 2010, establishing itself as the biggest manufacturer of Android phones globally, according to Skropidis. He said that in Australia, its impact would have been even greater had there not be minor supply issues affecting distribution. With these issues overcome, he predicts high uptake for the sequel.
"The Galaxy S II will be our hero launch this year," he said. "We've had phenomenal success with Galaxy S, admittedly a little of the success was constrained by some volume issues last year.
"We don't believe that's going to be the case this year, and we've got an even better product to bring to market, so that all bodes well for a really strong launch."
When asked about these improvements, Skropidis said a better and faster processer means users can play memory intensive, high definition games and movies; the touchscreen is better and the handset is lighter. When asked about carriers, Skropidis said he expects it to be available to all three major telcos.
"In the same way that the Galaxy S was across all our carriers, it's going to be our flagship so it'll be across [all carriers], hopefully, if they all want it," he said.
In addition to this revelation, Skropidis confirmed Samsung's commitment to providing choice in smartphone operating systems. Samsung currently markets Android, WinMo7 and Bada mobile phones. With Bada being an in-house OS, there is scepticism as to its overall viability. We asked Skropidis if Samsung was committed to maintaining Bada longterm, given that it lacks the critical mass required to produce the thousands of apps available to iPhone and Android consumers.
"What a few people have said to me is, 'How are you going to compete with 10,000 apps from one of the other operating systems?', and we had some discussions when I was in the US, and what they said to me was the average person only has 35 apps on their phone at any one time.
"Even if you look at the top 80 per cent of things that are downloaded, all the operating systems are offering the same solution, so Bada can give you a Facebook option, the same way that Apple can, the same that Android can, so the company still believes that we can do proprietary stuff with Bada."
On the topic of Samsung newly acquired manufacturing rights for Google's Nexus brand, Skropidis said Samsung would handle the bulk of this partnership. He also took the opportunity to take a swipe at previous Nexus manufacturer HTC.
"We weren't the original producer of the Nexus One — I presume they weren't happy with the previous provider — so they've come to us," he said. "We're doing all the production, sales, service, all that part of it. It's branded Nexus S but it's really us driving a fair share of the partnership there."
Finally, on the topic of how technology brands such as Apple, Sony and Samsung involve themselves in the music industry, Skropidis predicted big changes, though he didn't reveal exactly much of what Samsung had planned.
"There's a lot of stuff going to happen in the music space. One particular company has had it too good for too long and I think there's going to be a lot of movement in the music space in the next couple of years.
"I don't want to announce at this point what we're doing, we will shortly, but there's some stuff that we're going to do in that space."