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CNET First Look
Samsung's CES 2011 hardwareMolly Wood interviews David Steel, Samsung EVP strategy and communications, who discusses the hottest hardware unveiled at Samsung's press conference at this year's CES in Las Vegas.
-Welcome back to the CNET stage. I'm Molly Wood here at CES 2011. Thanks for joining our live stream of all things CNET. We will be here all day everyday for the duration of the show. It is the official opening day here at CES so the crowds are streaming in and we have a crowd here at our stage which makes everything that much more exciting. I am also joined on stage by David Steel, executive vice-president of strategy and communications for Samsung who you may remember as the man who so dramatically took the frame off of the frameless TV yesterday during the Samsung press conference. That was an exciting moment. So you guys had-- I mean, you always have a jam-packed press conference because Samsung makes so many things but to have the appliances on stage this year was something extra. -A lot of different products, yeah. -So can you tell-- Let's start by talking broadly about, 'cause I know there's some eye candy on the table and I know you want me to get through it but I'm going to stall, so that you'll stay tuned to our stream. Talk broadly about some of your-- some of Samsung's strategy because I have noticed that, really, you guys are making some of the most beautiful hardware in the business right now. -Yeah, thanks. I mean, design is very important to us. I think we realized a few years ago with the transition from analog products to digital products how important design would be. -Right. -So design's an area we've stressed. We launched yesterday our new series of TVs with a pencil-thin bezel around them so it's almost like the TV is floating but, you know, we think this year is gonna be all about smart, smart devices that connect to the internet, connect to each other, so a lot of the products that we're announcing here at CES are about that. They're about different form factors of smart devices, tablets, smartphones, sliding PCs, new forms of PCs. It's all about smart devices and connectivity. -So these always on, always connected devices. Are you trying to create kind of your own ecosystem or do you imagine a world in which people can bring in any device and the connection is what binds them? -Right, right. So, I mean, we know that consumers don't want these proprietary single customer-- single company solutions. They want to be able to connect up different devices so what we want to provide is a solution where it's actually better to have Samsung products so if you connect up different Samsung devices, you do get some advantage but, you know, more and more now, we see people connecting to the internet. I think that's the paradigm that's changed. If you were at CES 3 years, 5 years ago, it was all about device to device to device. -Right. -Now, it's about being able to connect devices to each other but being able to connect them to your favorite services so we see, you know, PCs obviously connected, tablets connected, and more and more now about the smart TV being connected. -Uh huh. -So you can have applications on different devices, you can have social networking, content streaming, all of those different things. -Right. Let's talk about phones a little bit. You have been, obviously, you've made phones for a long time but in the last year or so, you've really become an Android juggernaut. -Right. -Can you talk a little about the Galaxy S line and just-- and-- do you feel like it's the adoption of Android that has spurred that incredible growth or is it just that you have gotten very serious about making smartphones? -So I think it's mainly smartphones because we actually support some different platforms so we have Android phones, as you said. We also have Windows Phone 7 phones. We also have our own platform, Bada, for other markets, so we think a lot of it's about the consumer adoption of smartphones in general. -Uh huh. -Galaxy S, as you mentioned, was very successful for us. We sold more than 10 million last year and it made us number 1 in the third quarter here in Android devices. -Right. -So, Android's important. It provides a big marketplace of applications. It's a well-recognized, almost an iconic brand these days. -Uh huh. -So it's important, but we see the OS in general as being a means to an end. It's about delivering a certain experience to customers and Android is one great way of doing that but there are other good ways of doing that. The customer can decide based on what they're looking for. -And, now, you were, really, the first company to come out with a true iPad competitor, to deliver a consumer-focused tablet with the Galaxy Tab and the Wi-Fi-only version you announced at the show is coming out-- -Yep, yesterday. Coming out in the next few months. -In the next few months? -Yep. -So how do you see the tablet market developing? Obviously, we said yesterday it's raining tablets, 80 to 100, and you're taking the tablet to kind of the next level with that form factor. Can we talk about this? Can we talk about this right here? -Sure-- -It's time? -Is it time? Okay. So, I mean-- -The wait is over 'cause I'm like, "Uh." -I am-- Please. So I'd said like we're focusing this year on smart devices. -Uh huh. -And with smart devices, we see now this, you know, evolution of different form factors. -This is a slider. -This will slide out, yep. So-- -And I'm like afraid to push on it too hard 'cause I don't wanna do anything. -If you break it, you pay for it. -I know, that's what I'm worried about. -So, you know, we've seen this great growth over the last few years of the netbook market. Now we're seeing great growth in tablets. -Okay. -And what we were looking at was what would be the potential if we could really combine the strengths of both of those so something which has the touch functionality of a tablet which has applications on it, that work really well for a tablet, but also still provides the full keyboard, the QWERTY keyboard that consumers are looking for. -Right. -And that's really the concept behind this. -And you can see, there's the keyboard, the touchpad, a standard touchpad. Now, is this a Windows 7 device? -Yep. -Okay. -So it's running Windows. It weighs about 2 pounds, 10-inch screen. It's gonna retail for $699 coming out in a couple of months. -And how do I make it go-- Oh, I see, and then I just fold-- -Just fold it back and slide it back. -Slide it back. -So-- -Tablet. -You know, we see a big potential for a device like this where it's really combining, we think, the best of both worlds. -And like you said, it's not-- it's not Android so you're not-- you're not putting all of your eggs in the Android basket. -It's not Android but it still offers a very powerful apps experience because that's-- -Then I slide all by myself-- -What we take from-- that's what we really take from the growth of Android and many other smartphones is looking for an apps environment. We see it now on TVs. -Okay. -The idea that you can get 300 apps on a smart TV, downloading content, so it's about apps, it's about connectivity, and we think the Sliding PC is a very good form factor. -It's definitely interesting and you had a very exciting press conference. I hate to cut you off but we actually have to go to Brian Tong. Thank you so much, David Steel. -Thank you.