President, Samsung Mobile
With its eye-popping Super AMOLED screens and fast performance, Samsung’s Galaxy S line of high-end Android smart phones has given every major U.S. carrier a device that rivals the iPhone 4. And JK Shin, president of Samsung Mobile, is leading the charge. His company currently sells nearly one out of every four mobile phones in the U.S.
Now Shin and his team are readying a one-two counterpunch for the iPad: the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1. Shin also says that Samsung plans to triple the number of smart phones sold this year to 60 million. Apple has certainly noticed Shin’s success. The company recently filed a patent infringement suit against Samsung.
Senior vice president, mobile business unit, Nvidia
Nvidia saw the mobile writing on the wall long ago, and has since muscled its way into 40 percent of notebooks. But that’s not what’s propelling the company’s growth for the next three to five years. The company’s new Tegra 2 processors power a new wave of superphones such as the
T-Mobile G2x, which is capable of 1080p video recording and playback. Plus, Tegra is the CPU of choice, thus far, for Android 3.0 tablets.
At Mobile World Congress in February, Phil Carmack, senior vice president of Nvidia’s mobile business unit, demoed a new chip, codenamed Kal-El. It features a quad-core CPU and a 12-core GPU that could leave competitors in the dust. The chip can even deliver smooth video playback at up to 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution. The first Kal-El devices will ship this August.
This is how well Peter Chou is doing at HTC: In April his company surpassed Nokia in terms of market capitalization with $33.8 billion. Today more than one in five U.S. cell phone shoppers buy a device made by HTC. Built on the strength of top-notch industrial design and smart software, HTC is now a consumer-recognized brand that rivals Motorola and Samsung. Led by Chou, HTC’s sophisticated Sense UI for Android gives this company’s phones a level of polish that only Apple can match.
The next frontiers for HTC are making Sense even smarter with a totally revamped lock screen and new movie download service. Chou and is team is also readying the EVO View for launch, an Android 2.3 tablet that works with a digital pen and automatically syncs your notes to the cloud.
Executive vice president, personal systems group, HP
It’s not easy being at the helm of the world’s largest PC vendor, but during his five-year tenure Todd Bradley has increased profitability threefold while adding more than $10 billion in revenue. But staying ahead of Acer and Dell in notebooks is nothing compared to Bradley’s next challenge: scaling webOS to compete with the likes of Android and iOS.
Working with ex-Palm CEO and now HP senior vice president Jon Rubinstein, Bradley and his team will need to justify HP’s $1.2 billion purchase of Palm. The first fruits of the partnership will be two new smart phones and the new TouchPad tablet this summer. He has also promised to add webOS to every PC HP sells starting next year. Bradley recently said that webOS is “an opportunity to leapfrog the traditional Wintel ecosystem,” but only if consumers—and developers—give a much warmer reception to the platform compared to the last time around.
President and CEO, Verizon Wireless
Score one for Mead in getting the iPhone. In February, Verizon Wireless became the second major carrier in the U.S. to sell the iPhone 4, ending AT&T’s former exclusive. At the Verizon Wireless iPhone 4’s introduction, Mead shared the stage with Apple COO Tim Cook; not surprisingly, the device was the top-selling phone on any carrier during its first month on store shelves. Mead says that the carrier will sell 11 million iPhones alone in 2011, which we presume will also include the iPhone 5. But thawing relations with Apple isn’t the biggest story here.
Mead has spearheaded Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network, which offers the fastest speeds of any carrier. Currently, customers can achieve blazing-fast downloads (5 to 12 Mbps) and uploads (2 to 5 Mbps) in 39 markets covering 110 million people, and Verizon Wireless promises to blanket 147 markets by the year’s end. There was such pent-up demand for the carrier’s first 4G phone, the HTC Thunderbolt, that it reportedly outsold the iPhone 4 in several of the carrier’s stores. Which just goes to show, it’s all about the network.