Samsung gets serious about MP3 players

Samsung is getting serious about the MP3 player market and is hoping to more than treble player shipments this year, it said Thursday.

After missing out on the recent strong growth of the MP3 player market Samsung Electronics was getting serious about competing, a senior executive said.

The company had decided to focus some effort on carving out a place for itself in the market and was hoping to more than triple player shipments this year, vice-president of Samsung's digital media business, David Steel, said.

Samsung was in the MP3 player market several years ago but the company decided there wasn't much of a future in a product category that was largely driven by illegal downloads, Steel said.

That misjudgment of the market left the company, one of the world's biggest electronics companies, struggling to compete when Apple Computer came out with its iPod and iTunes Music Store combination.

"That legitimised [the market] in many minds," Steel said of Apple's product and service. "Now we decided from this year to get focused again."

Last year, Samsung shipped 1.6 million players and is targeting shipments of 5 million this year.

It would ship players worldwide, Steel said.

In March, the company announced four MP3 players and stated its intention to become the world's leading MP3 player maker by 2007. The new players were the YP-T8, which offers video and audio playback; YH-J70, a hard-disk drive-based model with 30GB capacity; YP-F1, a pendant style player interchangeable snap-on colour cases; and the YP-W3L, a diamond-studded player for the fashion conscious.

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Martyn Williams

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