Samsung - better known for its IT peripheral products - has launched itself into a crowded Australian notebook market, with a range of mid- to high-end machines.
The company is a world leader in the manufacture of TFT-LCDs and semiconductors and has a plethora of OEM arrangements worldwide.
But notebooks were the "missing link in what Samsung has to offer the Australian channel," according to Steve Trang, product manager, notebooks at Samsung Australia.
Trang claimed other manufacturers are selling on specifications but Samsung would sell based on emotions or how the machine "looks, feels and fits into a lifestyle."
Trang said 70 percent of the components for these machines would be manufactured by Samsung.
The range includes four models starting with the X10Plus and X15Plus machines with 14.1 inch and 15.1 inch screens respectively and costing between $2999 and $3599.
The notebooks have DVD combo drives and a 40GB or 60GB hard drives. The X10Plus weighs 1.8kg. Other models include the X30 ($3999), which ships with a 15.4 inch screen, an 80GB hard drive and internal bridge battery feature which allows the battery to be swapped with the notebook in standby and does not require a full shutdown.
The P35 model ($2999) features a 15 inch screen and 40GB hard drive.
All models operate on Intel's Centrino Mobile 725 and 735 processors and ship with NVIDIA or ATI graphics cards.
The products have already started shipping to Samsung distributors Tech Pacific, Ingram Micro and Westan. The company was also in negotiations with retail giant Harvey Norman, according to Trang.
The Australian launch follows the introduction of its notebooks in the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, India and Hong Kong.
The company had been selling notebooks in Korea since 1995, a market where it commands a whopping 40 percent share in the notebook space.
Trang said Samsung was hoping to capture three percent of the total notebook market in Australia by the end of 2005.
Michael Sager, market analyst, PC hardware at IDC Australia, predicted that Samsung would do "alright" against more established players in the notebook market, but would need to make its market segmentation clearer. "They'll need to have different [product] segments for different markets, because you can't be all things to all people," he said.
Established players like HP and Toshiba have more clearly defined models for different market segments, but Samsung would get there eventually, he suggested.
There was growth in the notebook market and similar to Tier 2 players Benq and LG, Samsung would leverage its current strengths in other markets such as monitors, he said. "Samsung - based on its monitor business - does have strong linkages to the corporate market," he said.