Innovation and challenge

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Innovation and challenge

Samsung Electronics’ new mobile phone Galaxy Note 7 shocked the market after it was released to more than ten countries on Friday. Bloomberg said the new smartphone pushed Apple Inc. into a corner, while the Wall Street Journal praised it as one of the best Android-based mobile devices. Thanks to such positive assessments and praise, Samsung Electronics’ stock price rose to over 1.6 million won ($1,430) for the first time. Judging from the current pace, market watchers expect the share price to soar.

The remarkable performance of Samsung is good news for our economy. Samsung hurriedly tried to catch up with Apple after it introduced the first iPhone. Thanks to Samsung’s efforts, it seemed it could almost divide the market with Apple, but appeared to lose ground due to its lack of originality and China’s fierce competition.

But Samsung has emerged again as the dominant player in the smartphone market after enhancing its hardware, Samsung’s traditional strong point. The secret was innovation. The company kicked off a head-to-head contest with Apple by developing the phablet Galaxy Note 1 — a smartphone-tablet hybrid with a bigger screen than other smartphones — in 2011.

Despite frequent ridicule for its hefty size, the crossover mobile device quickly penetrated global markets thanks to the advent of the video age.

Apple sneered at Samsung, calling it a “copycat,” but after the death of Steve Jobs in 2011 it has been presenting large-size smartphones, following in Samsung’s footsteps.

By applying iris identification features to the Note 7, Samsung overwhelmed Apple. Samsung bet on hardware for its success, after recognizing its weak points in software. Samsung’s strategy to use its technological competitiveness in hardware — as seen in the installation of iris recognition and waterproof and shockproof functions in the new device — to expand the market has worked wonders.

The iris recognition technology, in particular, is a remarkable piece of technology poised to initiate the fourth industrial revolution. Korean banks have immediately introduced the extraordinary technology to their businesses, and their foreign counterparts are also set to do so.

But Samsung has no time for a pat on the back. When Apple counteracts Samsung’s challenge and China continues to invade our smartphone market with its lower-end products, the situation could change at any time. We hope Samsung continues to take an innovative path down the road.

JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 20, Page 26
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