SEOUL Samsung Electronics, the world's second-biggest maker of mobile phones, launched a new touch-screen model on Monday while expressing confidence it would expand its global market share despite the downturn.
"We are very confident that we will continuously increase our market share not only in advanced countries...but also in the emerging market," said Hong Won-pyo, executive vice president in charge of product strategy at Samsung's mobile communication division.
"Smartphones, touch phones and messaging phones -- those are three major areas that we are addressing. That's why we are growing in contrast to the economy."
His remarks were made at a recent press event and embargoed until Monday in Europe.
Referring to Samsung's intention to raise its global market share to 20 percent this year from its end-2008 figure of 18 percent, Hong said: "Personally, I'm still confident that we will reach our earlier objective."
As for 2010, Hong said while no target had been determined he was confident Samsung would expand its share.
Samsung had previously said it was aiming to sell more than 200 million units in 2009, similar to 2008, and expected the overall handset market to shrink by a high single digit percent.
Samsung also unveiled the "Jet," which features full touch screen capability, a next-generation AM-OLED display screen and improved processor to deliver speedy mobile Internet access.
AM-OLED, which stands for active-matrix organic light emitting diode, is thinner, has better image quality and consumes less power than traditional LCD (liquid crystal display) screens.
Hong said Samsung was talking to major operators including Vodafone Group Plc and France Telecom's Orange to supply the Jet.
Although calling it "smarter than a smartphone," Hong said the Jet could not be officially considered a smartphone because it lacked the open operating system defining the category.
Samsung will "eventually" open its current proprietary platform, Hong said, without specifying a timeline.
The company is planning to introduce another batch of products in the third quarter including phones running on open operating systems, Hong said.
He said 30 to 35 percent of the about 150 new mobile phone models Samsung is unveiling this year would feature touch screens, and the portion would increase even further next year.
"Touch screen is almost now a generic requirement for high-end devices," Hong said.
"We might go with touch even with the middle and low end" of Samsung's product range, he said.
(Reporting by Marie-France Han and Rhee So-eui; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)