Israel is at the forefront of world wide high-tech R & D, and the Intel processor I’m using right now to write this post is just one example of it. Apparently, we can add other global manufacturers to this list, with one of them being Samsung.
I’ve taken the liberty to translate the following article featured in “Calcalist”:
Samsung Ramat Gan:
Most smartphones equipment manufacturers in the world, and most tablet makers, are using developments of Samsung’s R & D center in Israel, according to Amit Baruch, director of Samsung’s Israeli Center in the heart of Ramat Gan, who is particularly proud of the contribution of the R & D center to the South Korean camera. “The new Galaxy 3 device’s rear camera and image processing technology are ours, and we will be partners for the development of future generations of the Galaxy.”
The Center, which wasn’t anxious to be exposed to this day, preferring to operate under the radar of the media’s coverage, is exposed now on the occasion of the arrival of the President of Samsung Semiconductor, Dr. Nam Sung (Steven) Woo, to appear before the plenum and high-tech conference next week in Haifa and Jerusalem. Additionally, he will visit the center of R & D and meet with the development teams and start-ups in Israel.
“We have tremendous respect in South Korea. We are the only development center of the company abroad,” says Baruch. The development center is functioning as an active partner in developing all of the company’s mobile phones and generates Samsung global revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
“We have created hundreds of millions of units that were integrated into phones, laptops, digital cameras and tablets of the leading companies in the world,” said Baruch, “It is not trivial for Samsung to let us only develop solutions, but the entire Galaxy’s camera. We are increasing the revenues of Samsung”.
Baruch also reveals that Samsung-Israel are partners for the future development of a camera based on Android operating system. He did not call a spade a spade, but the item is probably the Galaxy S Camera, and is expected have a thickness of about 2 cm, and is designed as a Galaxy device but with an enhanced lens.
Unlike Samsung employees worldwide, who went into gloom after the company lost a case against Apple and was fined 1 billions dollars, the employees of the development center in Israel probably share only successes. “Even though the general atmosphere in the organisation was bitter, we did not feel it here,” says Baruch.
80 patents in the last three years
The development center of the South Korean giant in Israel was established in 2007, after buying the Israeli TransChip, Inc. company for $50 million, which specialized in manufacturing mobile phone cameras. “Our center has grown from 50 employees at its beginning to 200 employees today. 40 out of the 50 employees at TransChip are still working in the company. I believe the phenomenon is very rare in our field, but the numbers are not what matters to us but mainly the technological capabilities we offer here,” says Baruch. “We are not looking to recruit workers in order to increase the center, but rather as needed and by projects. I believe that in 2013 we will recruit a few dozen more.”
Samsung is currently the largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, and the Galaxy S 3 has become the best selling cell phone of its kind in the last quarter of the year, and in the United States is even topped the iPhone. But Samsung-Israel also has an important role in many other manufacturers. Baruch does not specify the manufacturers names, but according to estimates, include LG, HTC and others that combine the Israeli technology.
So far, Samsung has been idle investments in Israeli companies. Can we expect a change in the trend?
“I believe that by the end of 2013, we will be active on all levels of business process management. Eighteen months ago we started our BPM activities aimed at creating cooperation at three levels: academia, start – up companies and investment in firms.” To focus on this field, the company appointed Ruth Adar as VP business process management. “The mandate that we received from Samsung in the coming year is not to improve current technologies, but to invest in breakthrough technologies,” says Baruch.
Do you seek academic cooperation similar to what Intel is doing, like setting up a research center?
“We are looking for partnerships with the academia. I believe that every company needs to connect to the academia in the way that suits them. We prefer to research technologies through direct access to professors, because of the size of our center.”
What do you develop in Israel?
“In Israel, we work in three key areas. First, the development of cameras for mobile devices, laptop computers and vehicles, which is not a very developed field. Second, is image processors that integrate in tablets and advanced mobile phone. The last field in which we operate is to take the Samsung’s integrated circuits and make them into 4GL Application generators. I can compare it to the revolution the MMX processor Intel developed in Israel made. Using our capabilities it is possible to develop computerised vision systems. In the future, a camera with our systems can look at the picture and really understand its content and not just picture it.
A completely different field are patents. During the last three years while working here, we filed about 80 patents in our fields. “
The rest of the article talks about the LG technological center in Herzliya that employs 10 people who search for Israeli companies and technologies for implementation in LG product through licencing agreements.
So remember, next time you see a BDSer using his Galaxy S3 camera, smile to him and say: “Thank you for supporting Israel!”