Samsung on Monday pinned its hopes on the popular touch-screen segment and predicted growth from its mobile operations during 2009.

"Touch screens are better for taking pictures, experiencing music, video, location with GPS, and playing games," said J.K. Shin, Samsung's new head of mobile communications, at a press conference in Barcelona.

"I assume this position at a very difficult time, but I'm confident to predict, however, that Samsung Mobile will achieve continuous growth this year despite the economy," he said.

The mobile phone maker unveiled a number of new handsets: the slender Ultra Touch, which features an 8-megapixel camera, the Omnia HD, which enables users to capture high-definition video, and its new Beat Edition range of music phones, which support a wide variety of different music formats including MP3, AAC and WMA.

"My priority this year is to overcome the economic difficulties, and I believe that with the killer apps we have on our devices at the price points we've selected we can make further growth," said Shin.

"Smartphones as well as touch-screen devices are expected to grow, and we have many devices in these segments," commented W.P. Hong, executive vice president of product strategy, Samsung Mobile.

"We're also expecting continued growth in emerging markets," he said.

Indeed, Shin said sales of Samsung's devices in India, China and Africa grew by 35% in 2008.

Samsung also launched an environmental initiative called The Blue Earth Dream, which aims to create environmentally friendly devices and packaging made from recycled materials.

The first product, called Blue Earth, is made from recycled water bottles, and features a full touch screen and a solar panel on the back casing.

It also comes with a 5-star rated energy efficient charger, and is boxed in packaging made from recycled paper.

"The Blue Earth Dream is our commitment to sustaining life on this planet, and preventing climate change," said Shin.

The Samsung Blue Earth is expected to launch in the third quarter.