Samsung plans new netbook, smart phones

Samsung plans to follow-up its NC10 netbook in the coming quarter with a new computer in the fast-growing segment of the laptop computer market, it said Friday.

Samsung Electronics plans to follow-up its NC10 netbook in the coming few months with a new model and expand its range of smart phones with models based on a number of different operating systems, it said Friday.

"In the first half of this year, for touch-screen phones we will expand our line-up and upgrade some of the functions including the user interface and for smart phones expand our line-up and provide various OSes to satisfy the diverse needs of our customers," said Chi Youngcho, head of the recently created digital media and communications unit, in a conference call with analysts.

Samsung already offers phones based on the Windows Mobile, Symbian and Linux operating systems but perhaps most anticipated is an announcement from the company concerning a phone based on the Android OS developed by Google.

Samsung is a member of the Open Handset Alliance group formed around Android but has yet to show a phone running on the platform.

Chi also said Samsung plans to "expand our PC business by launching a new netbook."

No other details were disclosed but a follow-up to the NC10 has been rumored for a while. Internet reports late last year had the computer, called the NC20, launching around February and based on Via Technologies' low-power Nano processor.

If true that would be a departure from most competing machines, which almost all run the same Intel Atom processor. It would also be somewhat of a coup for Via, which has struggled to gain share from Intel in the mainstream market for years.

The NC10 was launched in the latter half of 2008 and, like most netbooks, is based on Intel's Atom processor and Windows XP. It has a 10.2-inch screen.

Netbooks have become popular with consumers, who are attracted by their compact size and low price. The market was created in 2007 when Asustek Computer launched its Eee PC and grew quickly to initially attract fellow Taiwanese competitors and then major laptop brands jumped into the market.

Earlier this month Sony, which had not launched a netbook, launched its Vaio P-series machines which are netbook-size laptops but based on the higher-specification Intel Atom Z520 chip.

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