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Samsung jumps into U.S. laptop market, taking on Apple, HP and Dell

October 14, 2008 |  5:23 pm
Samsung X360 Laptop

Apple wasn't the only technology bigwig to weigh in on the laptop market today. Samsung Electronics this morning announced it would dive into the hypercompetitive U.S. laptop market later this year.

Samsung will have its work cut out for it, with Chinese manufacturers nibbling away at the low end of the market with ever cheaper machines and big brands dominating the more profitable premium end. But the South Korean company has taken on other Goliaths -- and won. Most notably, it wrested the title from Sony as the largest seller of flat-screen television sets in the country. And now, it's setting its sights on notebooks.

The game plan for taking on this market appears to be similar to its strategy for tackling TVs: Aim high.

Samsung is introducing five models priced between $1,049 and $2,499 later this year. You can read the specs here. The theory is that shoppers who spend less than $1,000 are looking purely at price. Those who spend more tend to value design and high-end features such as anti-bacterial keyboards, lightweight and long battery life -- features that Samsung aims to deliver with its machines.

"We're looking for the more loyal buyer with more discriminating tastes," said Dave McFarland, Samsung's senior product marketing manager.

Will Samsung succeed? The company last year rang up more than $103 billion in sales, making it one of the world's biggest consumer-electronics powerhouses. It's also made and sold laptops outside of North America since 1983. But when it comes to the U.S. laptop business, Samsung is a newbie. Here, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Apple and Toshiba have the market practically locked up. The five players claimed 77% of the North American notebook market in the second quarter, according to DisplaySearch.

Today, Apple made Samsung's job a little harder, introducing a line of MacBooks that feature, among other things, a glass touchpad.

-- Alex Pham

Photo courtesy of Samsung