Time for sharp competitive intelligence

Samsung Electronics expects to maintain double-digit operating margins in the medium-term for its handset business, and expects to ship more than 200 million units this year.

David Steel, vice president for marketing at Samsung, said medium-term refers to a roughly one-year time frame. He said maintaining average selling prices for its phones is important even as it sells to emerging markets.

“It does not mean we are opening the gates for cheap products. We need to sell something with more of a premium,” Steel told analysts on the fringes of the Mobile World Congress.

Samsung executives said the company will introduce 11 new handsets at the wireless trade event.

In all, it will ship more than 200 million handset units in 2008, according to Geesung Choi, president of Samsung’s telecommunications business.

Samsung expects to have four or five WiMax phones out this year. WiMax is a wireless technology similar to WiFi but with longer range and stronger signals.

The company says its market share could reach a percentage range in the high-teens if it hits 2008 sales goal, depending on the global market size.

In addition, Samsung hopes to have a phone based on Google’s Android mobile phone software platform by early next year, it said at the Mobile World Congress on Monday.

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