Samsung chief shows confidence in wearable market

The new Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch.

BARCELONA - Shin Jong-Kyun, CEO and president of Samsung Electronics' IT and mobile division, said in Barcelona that Samsung would lead the era of wearables, which he expects to catch on this year.

"Samsung Electronics, which has reigned in both the smartphone and wearables markets so far by releasing a series of first-of-their-kind products, will try to clinch the leading position in the markets this year," said the CEO at a press conference held ahead of the Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest mobile trade show, to be held in the Spanish city from Monday through Thursday.

The Korean tech giant will unveil its new Samsung Gear 2 and Samsung Gear 2 Neo smart watches at the trade show, successors of the Galaxy Gear released last year.

Shin hinted that the company would also release "various types of wearable devices" later this year, which he expects will meet the needs of the fast-changing lifestyle of consumers.

The smart watches, running on the Tizen operating system developed by Samsung and partners including Intel Corp., will be paired with handsets, consumer electronics and vehicles, according to the firm.

While reinforcing its position in the mobile and wearable products sectors, the president said that Samsung would also focus on tablet PC products, hinting that it will try to take the lead in that market, currently dominated by California-based Apple Inc.

Shin, however, said that Samsung will likely face neck-and-neck competition in the smartphone market with both high-end smartphone makers such as Apple and budget handset makers including those from China.

"Many seem to undervalue Chinese smartphone manufacturers, but this is not right," said Shin, adding, "Considering their fast growth, the Chinese players will excel after all."

As for the patent dispute with Apple, Shin said the companies will not likely be able to reach common ground in the near future, declining to specify the sticking points between the two rivals.

Data compiled by market researcher Strategy Analytics showed Samsung is expected to take 36.2 per cent of the world's smartphone market in the first quarter of 2014, followed by Apple with 17 per cent.

LG is estimated to garner a 5.9 per cent market share over the cited period, with Chinese smartphone makers including Huawei Technologies Co., Lenovo Group and ZTE Corp. taking about 5 per cent each.