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Samsung's Jennifer Langan on competing with Apple, and why a stylus is great

by David Needle

November 8 2013

Jennifer Langan, Director of Mobility Products in Samsung's Enterprise Business division, is deeply involved with the tech giant's push into vertical markets such as education, medical and retail. In the second of TabTimes interview series with executives from top tablet manufacturers, Langan discussed Samsung's mobile ecosystem strategy and where tablets fit in the mix. 

TabTimes: Samsung is coming on strong, but Apple is still number one in tablets. What is Samsung’s unique selling proposition? 

Jennfer Langan: We are working hard to build up our overall ecosystem so we can give the customer what they need, whether it’s a tablet, a PC, or a Chromebook. In education for example, the tablet can used in a one-on-one, but we can also go old school and wirelessly connect to a Galaxy tablet to a large format display used like a blackboard.

When it comes to data, there are times you want to look at it on your phone, a tablet or a large display. We feel like we provide much more breadth with our solutions than competitors.

Samsung pioneered the so-called phablet device with the Galaxy Note. How does the company distinguish the customer or use case for a phablet versus a tablet?

We see them used in different ways with corporate and institutional customers most familiar with [phablets] as a companion device. I use it that way myself. I have a notebook at my desk and I take a Galaxy Note with me when I go to meetings.

We sell notebooks and tablets, but sometimes it comes down to how much time you spend on your feet. If you’re highly mobile, a keyboard solution gets very complicated.


We are seeing some evidence of tablets replacing notebooks, but it seems to be limited to certain areas.

Right. When it comes to content interaction, information gathering and retrieval the tablet works really well. With content creation we see resonance around notebooks and hybrid devices which also give you a larger screen for PowerPoint and other applications.

(Jennifer Langan will be a featued speaker in the Devices: Choosing your next tablet: The operational advantage session at the TabletBiz conference & expo in New York on November 13, 2013)

A big point of difference with Apple is that Samsung has been consistent in supporting the stylus.

Yes, and anyone who hasn’t tried it to should give it a shot. There are times, more than you might think, that we want to get back to a pen and paper scenario. Education for example. Everything isn’t about touch. Think about a geometry class, diagrams and charts. You don’t want to be limited to just using your finger.

On the Galaxy Note it’s a fantastic feel, like pen on paper, and you can rest your palm on the screen without messing anything up, it recognizes the difference so you don’t have to avoid touching it.

How about in a business environment?


Sure. I get a PowerPoint from my team that I have to redo. I can annotate changes, delete this, change that. And I can do all these annotations when I’m out of the office; I don’t have to send emails back and forth.

What are some of the more unique tablet use cases you’re seeing?

Across all sectors it’s pretty interesting. In medical we see Samsung tablets used to collect diagnostic information all from the EMR to a dashboard in a format that is highly usable for what the doctors need to do.

We’re starting to see more in retail, not just for credit card transactions, but also used as a way for customers to interact, get their questions answered and make purchase decisions in the store.

We have an executive briefing center here (Ridgefield, New Jersey) where we set things up the way customers work. We do a lot of brainstorming figuring out what the next step is, what other ways can our technology be used.

I wanted to end on that, looking ahead. Samsung’s KNOX security is software the company developed to address the security concerns customers may have connected to Android. Is that going to be a big part of the strategy going forward?

Definitely. There is a level of security that enterprises need and users want and KNOX completes the picture.

(For news, trends and insights about the the tablet market, sign up for the free TabTimes Daily or TabTimes Weekly Best newsletter)

David Needle is Editor of TabTimes and based in Silicon Valley.

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