Can Samsung innovate?

The Korean giant now dominates the smartphone and tablet era, but it is built for steady progress rather than big breakthroughs

By Jay Alabaster, IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

Samsung's broad range of devices also means that it can compete in widely different markets. In smartphones, the company is strongly competitive in advanced markets in the U.S. and Europe, and is still the dominant vendor in emerging China, where Apple lags rivals.

In nearby brand-conscious Japan, however, Apple is now the market leader, while Samsung has struggled. The Korean company is pouring much of its recent record profit into marketing, however, and was recently named the strongest smartphone brand by researcher Brand Keys.

A few weeks ago, rumors that Apple is working on a "smartwatch" hit the mainstream press. Days later, images of a Samsung smartwatch also emerged.

Whatever the source or accuracy of the watch rumors, the message is the same as it has been for smartphones and tablets. Samsung is now matching Apple product for product, leak for leak -- anything Apple can make, Samsung can too, and probably better.

The question is whether Samsung can give us something new.

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