David Steel is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing for Samsung Electronics in North America. He previously spent 10 years working with Samsung in Korea, having joined the company's Korea’s Global Strategy Group to work on projects for some of Samsung's subsidiaries and advanced to Vice President and head of marketing for the Digital Media Business division. In 2007 he joined the Mobile Communications division as head of marketing strategy.
Question: What is the future of mobile phones?
David Steel: So, mobile phones have just been a tremendous industry and obviously a great business for Samsung. We are now number two globally and number one in the U.S. and the numbers are staggering. We'll sell more than 40 million mobile phones this year in the U.S. market. More than one very second is being sold with the Samsung brand name in the U.S. market. And globally, we are selling about five every second. So, the scale of this business is incredible. Globally also, one in five people will buy a mobile phone this year among all brands. One in five people on the planet will buy a mobile phone. So, that gives you a sense of the scale of the business.
So far, in many cases, it's been focused on voice communication. That is where it really started, as a way of people being able to talk to other people. But now we are in this amazing transition of going to so-called "Smart Phones." And like I said before, they've been regarded as a different category. Something separate. But we really see it all coming together now. Phones are, in general, becoming smarter and smarter, which means more functions, more features, more ways to enjoy exciting content. So, the phone is becoming a way to communicate with other people, social media can be build in, social networking, you can enjoy multi-media functions, GPS for navigation. So the whole gambit of content can be delivered through phones.
It is the most personal object we all have. We can leave home and leave our wallet behind, but if we leave home and we left our phone behind, chances are we're going to turn around and go back to pick it up. So, it's that sort of piece of who we are. That also connects to another trend that I've been talking about which is more about design and emotional connection because it really is such a piece of who we are. So when we are looking to buy a mobile phone, it's about the look of the product as it reflects our personality, what we are going to use it for. It is such a personal item for everyone.
So, that trend towards more content, services, really cool hardware that's exciting to use, great user interface going beyond just being a phone and being a really smart device that's something you will have with you all the time. You use it to help you with all sorts of situations and it really enriches your life because of the kind of content you can get through it.
Question: What has Samsung learned about mobile phone content, and how will it change in the future?
David Steel: One of the things we have been learning about content on the phone is it needs to be optimized for the phone. So, we're seeing much more about short form content that can be enjoyed on the phone. Like video clips and things like that but are really optimized for a smaller screen.
But it's not just about video, it's also about the way in which people are communicating. Look at the growth of social networking services. People wanting to exchange short messages with each other, like Twitter, or post **** social media sites. All of that now needs to be optimized into a mobile phone. It could have a physical keyboard, could have a touch screen. How do we really fit that into a device to make it easy to use? That's the big opportunity now.