For the first time this weekend, consumers will be able to see and buy Samsung notebook computers in retail stores around the country.
The brand, which is possibly better known for its mobile phones or appliances, is making a big play in the computer market, having launched its printer range last year to complement its monitors, which are already well established in the South African market.
For those users who didn't know that Samsung competed in the notebook arena, product manager Gavin Slevin reveals that there are, in fact, a range of Samsung notebook families.
"There are the R-Series notebooks, in 15-inch, 16-inch and 17-inch versions, that are aimed at the consumer market and will be available through retail," he says.
"We also have the P-Series of professional notebooks which offer low total cost of ownership and address the market from SME to large corporate.
"The Masterpiece X-Series products are the top-end thin, light and high-powered," Slevin adds.
Samsung is also playing in the hugely-popular mini-notebook market, with three product offerings targeting the range of users. The NC mini-notebooks are available in 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch models.
Slevin explains that Samsung is by no means a newbie when it comes to manufacturing computers – it's been making them, on an OEM basis, for many other IT companies for the last 12 years.
And it's one of the few computer vendors that still manufactures its own products, including most of the components that go into them.
"The focus is on quality and durability, with the obvious cost benefits of doing its own manufacture," says Slevin. "And there are some brilliant new design concepts coming through – with some products in the pipeline that will give Apple a run."
Although the printer and notebook products are fairly new in the South African market, the Samsung brand is well known because of the success of its monitors over the past few years.
"In fact, a South African survey of PC brands positioned Samsung near the top – even though we don't offer PCs in this market," Slevin says. "This is significant in that people with Samsung monitors associated the brand with the PC."
The initial Samsung notebook products will be available through retail, but they will also be sold via the reseller channel in South Africa, Slevin says. Rectron and Tarsus have been appointed as distributors.
The notebooks will leverage the existing printer reseller channel, although Slevin says he is hoping to grow the number of Samsung resellers in South Africa.