Where do the consumer electronics and IT markets meet? And what happens when digital technology that the IT channel takes for granted is plugged into consumer land?
In the glitziest trade launch of the year, normally mild mannered Samsung Electronics (SE) brought out the showbiz hype to announce its digital multimedia platform - Smart Media. And that is what happens when technology allows market segments to converge. The company commits massive promotional funds and launches a new slogan, "SAMSUNG DIGITall: everyone's invited."
Focusing on what it refers to as four core markets; personal multimedia, mobile multimedia, home multimedia and component business, SE is looking to become one of the "top three digital vendors in the world". The initial strategy is to use leverage from its new Smart Media card, which is due for release shortly. Smart Media is the removable storage medium with which Samsung expects to snare a major slice of the multimedia market for video and audio data downloaded from the Internet and other sources.
The company that is best known in the IT channel for its monitors is set to roll out a raft of multimedia products that will completely blur lines between consumer and business markets.
The launch in Sydney last week featured products using the initial removable media offering, a Smart Media card with 32MB memory, with a range of devices being displayed. Among the products to be paraded up and down the catwalk were digital still cameras, an audio player, digital photo album, smart phone and other PDA devices.
Samsung Electronics Australia consumer electronics division director John McGuirk acknowledged that the "digital convergence revolution" will mean a restructure of the Australian operation, but said that it will be market driven.
Not to miss an opportunity, IT division marketing manager Joseph Rau demonstrated what he claimed was Australia's first TFT LCD monitor with built in television tuner. The 17-inch SyncMaster 170 MP, which featured digital zoom and image quality control filters, was one of several new display products from Samsung and is slated for release in the second half of the year.
The company is reported to have set aside $100 million in advertising for Asia and Oceania to promote Samsung's digital message.