Samsung Now Says It's Cool With The Low End, But Not Too Low

For a long time, Samsung eschewed the low end of the handset market, saying it wanted to only make high-end products so it could project a lofty brand image. Even as recently as October, it said it wouldn't compete in the lowest end of the Indian market. This strategy has played a role in the company's inability to keep pace with Nokia and Motorola in terms of market share, and as the two have seen their sales in emerging markets grow, Samsung's days of being number two in sales are long past. Finally, it seems like the company's realized that those emerging markets are the ones with the most growth, so it's said it will start selling low-end devices in Latin America and Southeast Asia to try and boost its sales. But, ever-conscious of that brand image, it says it will only sell sub-$70 handsets, but won't venture into sub-$40 or $50 devices. All this talk, though, seems like little more than after-the-fact posturing. For Samsung's supposed focus on the high-end, its handset margins are significantly lower than Nokia's, whose strength in emerging markets with low-cost devices is currently powering it.

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