Samsung / LG – Go at it with new handsets in USA

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics plan to use the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunication Industry Association) wireless industry trade show as a springboard to boost their mobile sales in the United States where saturation and competition have been the norms.

The show, North America’s largest wireless event, will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, April 1-3.

Samsung Electronics said Monday that it will unveil this year’s strategic “Soul’’ phone in the world’s largest consumer electronics market. The slider-type handset with a touch panel will feature Bluetooth 2.0 and 5-megapixel camera functions.

The phone is being marketed to European customers and will be available in mid-April.

Samsung electronics, the world’s No. 2 handset manufacturer after Finland-based Nokia, also plans to introduce customized products aiming for larger U.S. wireless operators such as “Flipshot’’ (Verizon), “Blackjack2’’ (AT& T), “Katalyst’’ (T-Mobile) and “m520’’ (Sprint).

Samsung will test its “XOHM’’ mobile broadband WiMAX service, which will be commercialized by Sprint in late April as part of the U.S. operator’s “Open Internet Vision’’ strategy.

“Our slogan for this year’s show `Mobile for Every Lifestyle’ means that Samsung will maintain sustainable growth in the U.S. with customized products and technologies,’’ said Choi Gee-sung, president of Samsung’s telecommunication division.

While Samsung has been credited with innovative products such as ACE at Sprint and the Juke at Verizon, part of its U.S. success is attributed to Motorola’s stagnant product lineup, according to experts. They said Samsung’s U.S. products don’t reflect a market-leading user interface, colors or finishes.

According to internal data, Samsung has set this year’s mobile growth in the United States at a modest 4 to 6 percent due to U.S. macro-economic woes and fiery competition.

Like Samsung, LG Electronics _ the world’s No. 5 maker of mobile phones after Sony Ericsson _ plans to lay a solid basis to catch up with Sony Ericsson by propelling its touch screen phones.

The mobile maker said it will introduce a full touch screen “Vu’’ handset at the show. The “LG-CU920’’ model features 2.0-megapixel camera functions. In order to improve its portfolios, the company will also unveil an “EnV2’’ qwerty model for the United States, following its previous “EnV’’ mobile, which has sold over 3 million units since November 2006.

“Our focus is set on appealing touch-based technologies to U.S. vendors as demand for such high-end gadgets has steadily been soaring despite U.S. economic woes,’’ said Skott Ahn, chief executive of LG Electronics Mobile Communications.

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