Samsung's Aggressive Green Tech Strategy
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SAN FRANCISCO With an ever-growing number of American consumers getting on the energy efficiency bandwagon, Korean electronics giant Samsung is giving them plenty of ways to go green, from TVs to datacenters.
Samsung makes everything from memory to flat screen TVs to refrigerators, so it covers a pretty wide swath of electronics products. As such, it gives the company a large scale opportunity to make an impact.
Samsung has been making this pitch for a while. Kicking off an event here in the city on its "Go Green" efforts was David Steel, senior vice president, who noted a survey that found 39 percent of consumers say individual Americans should take the lead on environmental issues.
"That means people believe it's no longer about someone else taking responsibility for them, but more and more about individuals taking responsibility for themselves," he told the luncheon crowd of analysts and journalists.
A second survey found 52 percent would pay more for green products. Just how much they would pay depended on location. As many as 22 percent of people in that same survey said they would pay a 20 percent premium for green products, with Seattle residents the most green-conscious, willing to pay as much as 30 percent more for green products.
However, there is a downside: going green has to have immediate payback, noted Jim Elliott, vice president of memory marketing at Samsung. When the economy tanked in the fourth quarter of 2008, sales of CFL light bulbs plunged for the first time ever. The twisty bulbs are popular for their low power draw, but it take a long time for the savings to be realized because they cost quite a bit more than traditional filament-based light bulbs.
The drive to solid state drives in the datacenter
Samsung is making power savings a priority across the board, and noted that in many areas, its product offerings are already 100 percent Energy Star compliant. Just in the past year, Samsung has cut the power draw on its LCD TVs from 185 watts to 100 watts. Its real push, though, is in memory and storage.
Elliott discussed efforts to shift from hard disk storage and DDR2 to solid state drives and DDR3 memory, and made bold projections on the impact on datacenters. "Everything we do on the semiconductor side will influence things downstream. So products must perform," he told the crowd.
Elliott talked at length about replacing the high-speed 15,000 RPM drives used in datacenters with SSD drives, an idea that has been discussed but not really implemented because SSD isn't proven in the market yet.
He said Samsung and other vendors are continuing their efforts to improve reliability and long-term viability of SSDs in datacenters, but said it will take time.
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