Samsung Showcases New Product Line-up, Mobile Print App at 2012 Media and Analysts Meeting

By Jessica Schiffenhaus, Research Editor, July 19, 2012

On June 21, Samsung Electronics America hosted a handful of industry analysts at its North American headquarters in Ridgefield Park, NJ to showcase its new color and monochrome printers and A3 MFPs and discuss the company’s 2012 printer and MFP channel strategy.

Leading the conversation was Tod Pike, who recently joined Samsung as senior vice president of the company’s Enterprise Business Division. He emphasized that, after serving many years at Canon, including as senior vice president of the Imaging Systems Group, his move to Samsung is indicative of his confidence in the brand, which led into his presentation “Why Samsung?”

The presentation drew attention to some of the brand’s key attributes: Samsung is the largest IT company in the world, with $143.1 billion in consolidated sales, and the number two patent holder in the U.S., investing $8 billion annually in research and development. “I’ve only been here a few months, but I’m convinced that the R&D investment and the seriousness with which we’re taking our expansion of the printer business will allow us to keep having products and feature sets that will be competitively positioned and better than our competition,” said Pike.

Similar to other manufacturers, Samsung has dipped into the mobile print market and managed print services with its PrintIQ offering for dealers.

“We’re unique in our approach to the channel. It is one where we’re not competing with the channel,” said Pike, emphasizing that Samsung has no intention of going direct to the end market. In fact, Samsung utilizes its own direct sales force to establish relationships with big accounts, such as fortune 500 companies and state governments, and then extends those relationships to its resellers.

Admittedly, there are still some places in the country where Samsung lacks coverage, said Pike, and as with last year’s goals, national coverage is still a priority. “I have not yet met a dealer that is skeptical of our ability to succeed,” said Pike. “Rather, it’s how we currently fit into their portfolio that’s been the biggest holdup.” Currently, Samsung’s sweet spot is with dealers looking for a complement to their primary line. For dealers who already offer multiple lines, it becomes more of a replacement of another vendor versus an add-on.

Contributing to its growth strategy is the company’s already established success with certain verticals, such as banking and finance, healthcare and government, due to its existing IT relationships. “A lot of what encourages dealers to come on board is our IT relationships with major accounts in different geographies,” said Pike. “When you’re able to bring a dealer into a nice opportunity, it’s a nice way to help get a dealer to come on board with Samsung.”

While expanding dealer coverage remains a priority, Pike emphasized that over-saturating the market with competing dealers is not the way to accomplish that. “I don’t have a number of dealers in mind; what I do have is full coverage of the country,” he said. “And getting the best dealer we possibly can in an area. My approach and the company’s approach is to focus on the right dealers and the right marketplace, as opposed to having a hit-and-miss strategy that results in having six or seven authorized Samsung dealers in a particular geography.” Samsung is also busily working to expand its support group for dealers, beginning with building the staff up around their director of dealer sales by pairing local dealer sales managers with solutions architects in different geographies.

Leading Through Innovation

Later in the afternoon, Peter Richardson, the company’s senior manager of printer marketing, addressed the scope of Samsung’s product line across all market segments: For example, Samsung makes the smallest single-function laser printer in the world and the fastest, he said.

One of Samsung’s approaches to producing new products is leveraging efficiencies. “We’re very comfortable having and sharing engines with single-function printers and multifunction printers and giving them the same cost per page,” said Richardson. Toner is also shared among models in certain product families.

Additionally, Richardson said, the company has brought a lot of enterprise features down market to desktop devices, adding advanced functionality such as WiFi direct, Samsung’s Easy Eco Driver, compatibility with the Samsung Mobile Print App and ReCP technology to the lower-end devices. The entire product line also features polymerized toner, which lowers fusing temperature and uses 35 percent less electricity in the manufacturing process, according to the company.

Samsung introduced three new Color Xpression printers and four Color Xpression MFPs to its lineup. The single-function units include the 19-/4-ppm CLP-365W, 19-ppm CLP-415NW and 25-ppm CLP-680ND. The 19-/4-ppm CLX-3305FW, 19-ppm CLX-4195FW, and 25-ppm CLX-6260FD/FW all have standard print, copy, scan and fax, and all but the CLX-3305FW feature Samsung’s “Smart UI” color touch screen.

The 40-ppm CLX-8640ND and 50-ppm CLX-8650ND are Samsung’s latest MultiXpress A4 color MFPs, sold exclusively through the BTA channel and servicing retailers. One of the highlights of these devices is the browser-enabled 7” color touch screen with a drag-and-drop user interface similar to that on a smartphone. Richardson also touted the machines’ easy installation, adding that it takes around 20 minutes to set them up out of the box. “We know how to make things easy to use,” he said. “We know how to make things user-friendly.”

On the A3 side, the new MultiXpress A3 MFPs share the same 7” user interface as the MultiXpress A4s. They also feature inner finishers to maintain a small footprint and are one of the first products with a single consolidated board with a dual-core processor, making them a lot faster according to Richardson. The lineup includes the 30-ppm CLX-9301, 25-ppm CLX-9251 and 20-PPM CLX-9201 (color) and the 28-ppm SCX-81828 and 23-ppm SCX-8123 (monochrome).

Mobile Printing

Given that most of Samsung’s newest products have native AirPrint capabilities, and some are equipped WiFi Direct, which enables a product to broadcast its own wireless connection, it’s no surprise that the company showcased the Samsung Mobile Print App, which works with the entire product line and was just named BLI’s Summer 2012 “Pick” award winner for “Outstanding Mobile Print App.” Compatible with iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices, Samsung Mobile Print App automatically finds compatible Samsung devices on the network and lets users scan to and print from these devices, taking full advantage of the device’s existing features such as duplex, staple, job accounting and even secure print.

The app is capable of printing emails, attachments, Microsoft Office files, websites, and photos, as well as documents from cloud applications such as Google Docs. It also allows users to scan to multiple destinations, including cloud services. “I can speak very confidently,” said Richardson. “This is where we lead the space.”

This article was originally posted on Buyer's Laboratory.

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