Samsung set to dominate in home appliances
Posted on 8 Feb 2013 at 10:03, by Seth Barton
Having seen Samsung's line up this year for Europe, we were rather impressed. Admittedly it lacked some of technological flourishes we'd been hoping for from a company leading the world in both Smart TV and smartphone sales – but it was all well designed and looked to be solidly engineered too. We took the time to sit down with Choong Ro Lee, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing in what Samsung calls its Digital Appliance Business - along with members of his team.
We have a lot of experience dealing with Samsung, and if there's one thing the company likes it's a grand target for world domination. For home appliances, this has been set as being the global leader in the sector by 2015. That may well sound optimistic, but having achieved a similar feat in TV and smartphones, and making a strong push in PCs and tablets, we wouldn't bet against the company.
Samsung has been selling appliances in Europe for 5 years now, but has gradually been increasing the breadth of its product offering, with key items such as dishwashers only coming into the range last year. This year it introduced a new french-door style fridge that was designed to fit neatly alongside European kitchen cabinets - the Samsung G-Series RF24
Mr Lee admitted that the company was still in the process of finding strong partners to work with, such as Electrolux and Whirlpool's hook-up with Ikea. However it should have some announcements to make at IFA in September on this topic.
Samsung's products look to be in the upper-mid-range of the market - the impressive Samsung Smart Oven (microwave to you and me) will cost over £300 - the same as the similarly specified top-end Panasonic model.
When asked who it planned to take market share from, Mr Lee didn't want to name competitors, but he did say he didn't see "much advancement in their technology" and that Samsung would bring "a fresher perspective to the industry".
Despite this, and as we mentioned above, Samsung isn't forcing smart technologies on consumers in its current range. There's no rash of Wi-Fi enabled devices – though there's an American sized washing machine that does include such features. The new washing machine range is capable though of self-diagnosing faults and providing a bar-code that the customer can then send to the service centre. This way, an engineer coming to repair the device has a good chance of bringing the right parts with him.
Mr Lee referred to such technology as 'adapted appliances' rather than smart appliances. Though if you're looking for something high-tech the new Samsung Navibot CornerClean review - Hands on should fit the bill.
The design of the new product line has been informed by five research labs across the world, with each feeding back regional lifestyle requirements into the design. The look and feel has been inspired in part by Samsung's more famous devices, such as its smartphone range.
Samsung has certainly pushed the engineering inside too, putting premium technologies across its whole range – such as its brushless motor, which reduces friction and so decreases noise and increases the lifetime of the device. A 10-year warranty on this component shows Samsung's faith in the technology. Mr Lee was confident that Samsung would expand its service centres to match its proposed increase in market share, though he wouldn't be drawn on the ongoing provision of spare parts beyond that 10-year period.
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