By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Ambition is an attribute worn with pride at Samsung. Globally, the Korean juggernaut is the #1 electronics company, with sizable shares across the TV, digital camera, mobile phone and IT categories. If the quality of spokesperson is a representation of market presence, yesterday’s appointment of David Beckham is wholly appropriate.

But ambition in the less glamorous categories is often overlooked. Samsung has toiled away to lead the market in French Door and Side-by-Side fridge unit sales, and is pioneering some feature sets to rival the technology in its new Smart TVs.

Last night was the official launch conference for Samsung’s new range. From the basement of Sydney’s grandest Art Deco monument, the GPO building, Mike Lilly, the group senior product manager for home appliances, laid bare Samsung’s lofty goals.

Lily said he wanted Samsung’s new Space series French Door models to not just be the centre of the kitchen but the centre of the home. He spoke of how TV envy currently exists, whereby hosts proudly show off their large screen panel to guests, and that that phenomenon could be recreated with these units. He called this Fridge Envy: surely not the type of jealousy Shakespeare was considering when he created the ‘green-eyed monster’.

For the industry, Lily made clear his thoughts on the refrigerator market. He said that refrigeration has been “a key performer in a tough market”. By ‘market’ he meant the wider consumer electronics and appliance categories. With an RRP of $4,999, Samsung’s new hero refrigerator is clearly positioned as a premium appliance. Only a handful of their highest-end TVs have higher price tags.

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Refrigeration product manager Jason Fardoulis outlined the key technologies of this new French Door (SRF801GDLS), which has three separate compartments: a refrigerator, a multi-purpose cabinet and a freezer drawer.

Fardoulis said Space technology in the cabinetry and insulation system has resulted in more internal storage space without an increase in the product footprint. By taking the ice dispenser out of the door and into the main cabinet, the inside of the door has been freed up as well. All told, the refrigerator’s capacity is 801 litres.

All controls, such as the one that choose between the four temperatures offered in the middle cabinet, are soft touch LED. The handles to these cabinets feature a quick release function for the door seal, so that yanking leading to seals breaking, can be avoided.

The target market for this new release is big families and those growing towards being big. There’s also a focus on the renovation market, with Lilly saying he was confident that consumers will be swayed into building new kitchens around this refrigerator.

The new Samsung French Door Fridge (SRF801GDLS, RRP $4,999)