Friday, January 7, 2011

UPDATE: Samsung Electronics Reviewing Google-Powered Web TV

SEOUL (Dow Jones)--Samsung Electronics Co. (KSE), the world's largest maker of flat-screen televisions by shipments, said Saturday that it is reviewing making a television set running on Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system.

"We are still reviewing whether we will make the Google TV set or not," Samsung Electronics' Visual Display President B.K. Yoon told reporters in Seoul.

Another executive at the company said Samsung is always ready to collaborate with the search engine giant in any areas, where both parties can "win-win."

The latest remarks are part of the Korean electronics maker's efforts to fatten up its television offerings, especially smart TVs, which the company is banking on to bolster profits and fend off price erosions sparked by the global economic slowdown and severe price rivalry in the TV industry.

Samsung is planning to launch a new Blu-ray player and a set-top box enabling Google TV. The devices will allow users to surf the Internet on their TV screens, check emails, and build-up social networks just like computers and smartphones, the company said.

On Friday, Yoon said the Korean company aims to sell a total of 45 million flat-screen televisions this year, up 15% from the 39 million units sold last year. Of the total, it plans to ship 12 million units of smart TVs--around 27% of its total flat-panel TV sales--and to sell as many as 10 million units of three-dimensional TVs this year.

In 2010, Samsung sold 5 million smart TVs and 2 million 3-D TVs.

Google's software platform has been gaining ground fast and its share in the global platform area that once was heavily dominated by iPhone maker Apple Inc. (AAPL) is rapidly increasing.

Some challenges remain. Google, which last year teamed up with Japan's Sony Corp. (6758.TO) and developed a new Web-connected TV powered by Google's operating system, has asked some manufacturers to hold back on product announcements after receiving negative reviews.

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