A senior analyst at Ovum, part of the Datamonitor Group, says Korean manufacturers should ramp up their production of ‘Killer Apps’ in a fight to overtake Apple, which has set itself up as an application provider in the mobile ecosystem.
William Lee, author of a new report entitled ‘Korean handset players’ key strengths’ at Ovum, says Samsung and LG ‘need to develop killer mobile services featured only for their products, which have competitive and similar points with RIM’s e-mail and Apple’s Appstore’.
While the global competitiveness of Korean handset players like Samsung and LG has improved dramatically, underpinned by their understanding of consumer demand and their flexible yet cost-effective multi-platform strategies, Mr Lee said Samsung and LG need to secure the initiative and create a business model with an innovative strategy, “in order to build their own product identity with the development of killer mobile services, such as application provider, contents provider etc, based on collaborative partnership with other stakeholders.”
He said it was worth considering B2B partnerships with corporate solution providers in order to move ahead of new business stakeholders such as Google and Nokia, which are moving beyond their traditional business into handsets.
Mr Lee said that while they had established their technical leadership in hardware elements, such as high-pixel cameras, multimedia features and screen size, and although Samsung and LG were the first to come to market with touch screen handsets, it is the iPhone which has initiated mass take-up. However, with global manufacturers broadening the line-up of Android products, speculation is rife that its demand will surpass the iPhone within the next five years.
However, Mr Lee said while the booming Smartphone market offered several opportunities for Samsung and LG, they need to overcome several critical challenges. He said there is a need to develop the model based on Windows mobile other than Android, while keeping the model linkable with several ‘killer apps’, albeit based on the feature phone platform. “There are a plethora of applications on the Smartphone, but not many killer apps are used very often during the lifetime of the handset,” said Mr Lee.
Mr Lee continued: “The usage pattern of the smart phone and user spectrum will be diversified even in the low-end sector of the Smartphone; as a result, the product portfolio by price (specifically in the low-end sector) must be built in various ways. For that, each target user segment must be approached on the basis of lightweight feature through selection and concentration from the standpoint of SW and HW and from the perspective of cost.
Mr Lee said: “In the feature phone segment, Samsung and LG have improved their interface scheme. However, in the high-end segment (including Smartphones) their interfaces are still perceived to lack consistency and intuitiveness. The recently launched Bada OS platform by Samsung is also perceived in this way. Even though Bada meets high-tier specifications in respect to support for app stores, GPS, and even Flash, it has been criticized for its inconsistent and inconvenient graphic user interface. Samsung and LG must both address this issue in order to make globally competitive products.”