Monday, November 28, 2005

Samsung may dull Motorola's Razr edge reports the best-selling Motorola Razr can expect to face challenges from Samsung in 2006 when it "unveils a slew of copycat thin designs."

Neil Mawston at Strategy Analytics said, "The Razr is a killer phone, among the world leaders in volume terms, as it is differentiated heavily from the competition by its ultra-thin form factor -- it has a visual 'wow' factor that few devices have at this time. But Motorola today is experiencing a Golden Age that will be difficult, if not impossible, to sustain in the next 2 to 3 years, as copycat ultra-slim designs will reduce the uniqueness of the Razr through 2007 -- the gap between Motorola and the rest will close in 2006 or 2007."

Samsung's first Razr lookalike, the V740, was launched in May and "its successor, the V8400 slider phone, in October." On Samsung's home turf, Ovum "estimates that 500,000 Razr units were sold in South Korea in the two months of July and August, while telecoms industry data show it was the country's top-seller in September."

Nathan Burley at Ovum said, "We think Samsung has a clear case of Razr-envy. It has led in technologies like imaging, though its designs may have lagged. But it is doing lots to improve its designs and can hold its own. I wouldn't write them off just yet."

While Samsung and Motorola wrestle in the ultra-slim market, Nokia remains a dark horse.

Strategy Analytics' Mawston noted that Nokia has stayed quiet in this high-stakes battle. He said, "Nokia to-date has not been clear in outlining its ultra-thin handset strategy. We expect an ultra-thin GSM phone from Nokia in 2006, simply because it needs one fast, to blunt the existing competitive edge of Motorola. Nokia's made no effort to compete in the thin phones segment, instead they've gone for fat phones. The thinking seems to be they do not want to be in the 'Me Too' category."