Samsung Electronics Co Ltd set robust TV sales growth targets for 2010 and announced its intention of moving into the increasingly crowded electronic reader market.
Samsung, the world's biggest TV brand by revenue, said it aimed to sell 35 million LCD televisions in 2010, including 10 million TVs using light emitting diode (LED) backlights.
And the company debuted a wireless e-book reader that will let users write or draw directly on the display, getting into what is one of the hottest gadget markets.
Coming in six- and 10-inch screen sizes, Samsung's e-readers will be able to download books from Google Inc and sell for $399 and $699. Google now carries millions of free, public-domain books, but it has also announced plans to start an online bookstore.
Similar e-readers like Amazon's Kindle offer mainly books from their own online stores.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the South Korean electronics giant outlined a spate of initiatives focused on boosting its core TV and display division.
The company also announced what it called the world's first HDTV applications store, where users can buy and download software programs -- ranging from news and games to Twitter or Blockbuster video rental services -- on select Samsung high-definition televisions and home video systems.
The applications store is similar to Apple's as it will allow would-be developers to design programs that are then sold to consumers.
Samsung appeared to set robust growth targets for its TV arm. It set this year's target for plasma TV sales at 4 million units.
Exact 2009 sales figures were not available, but analysts estimate the combined 2010 target for flat-screen TV sales will represent around 30 percent growth from last year, when Samsung boosted market share over Japanese rivals such as Sony and enjoyed an early lead in high-margin LED TVs.
Liquid crystal display (LCD) TV sets featuring LED are thinner, more power-efficient and provide better images than those lit by traditional cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs).
Samsung is also betting on 3D TVs, an emerging market where competition is expected to heat up.
3D will attract a lot of attention in 2010, said Yoon Boo-keun, president of Samsung's visual display division.
We will create a new market for 3D LED TVs.
Yoon's comments were made at a recent news conference in Seoul and embargoed for this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
LED TVs accounted for more than 10 percent of Samsung's entire LCD TV sales in 2009. The LED TV market is set to grow rapidly this year, with rivals including Sony and LG Electronics gearing to catch up.
Samsung plans to offer a broader lineup of LED TVs to maintain its lead. While competition will likely lead LED set prices to fall at a faster rate than last year, Yoon expected the decline would be limited due to tight panel supplies.
Panel supplies will likely remain not so favorable this year, he said, without elaborating. Samsung is also the world's biggest maker of LCD panels.
(Reporting by Rhee So-eui in Seoul and Gabriel Madway in Las Vegas; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner, Phil Berlowitz)