Samsung battles iPhone 6 with its Galaxy S6

Several big Asian phone companies launched new high-end smartphones and other wireless gizmos on Sunday, hoping to challenge US giant Apple in a big year for wireless gadgets.

Samsung, fellow South Korean firm LG and hip Taiwanese manufacturer HTC timed their smartphone launches to grab the attention on the eve of the Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest telecoms trade fair, in Barcelona, Spain.

In a head-on challenge to Apple’s popular iPhone 6, which was released last year, Samsung came out fighting on Sunday with the Galaxy S6, a smartphone with a touchscreen that curves around the edges and has a wireless charger.

It also presented the larger S6 Edge, a “phablet” somewhere between a tablet and a phone in size.

LG unveiled a new top-line phone with a curved back to sit snugly in the palm, the LG Flex 2, as well as four new mid-range smartphones and two new luxury internet-connected watches.

At a noisy stage presentation before a crowd of hundreds, HTC chief executive Peter Chou meanwhile presented the HTC One M9, with a grey metallic handset moulded from a single piece of aluminium.

HTC also revealed a new connected “fitness band” body-monitoring bracelet and a virtual reality headset that it said it hoped to sell commercially by the end of the year.

Apple as usual was staying away from the Barcelona show but was reported to be preparing a coup with the launch next month of its new Apple Watch, reflecting a major trend in wearable gadgets this year.

Samsung’s 2015 flagship devices ‘insufficient’
The chief executive of Samsung’s mobile division, JK Shin, said the company aimed to set “a new standard to drive the global mobile agenda”, claiming his phones had the fastest processors and most high-performance cameras on the market.

Samsung is the world’s biggest seller of smartphones but saw its world market share fall last year from 34% to 20%, according to a report by tech consultancy IDC.

“There’s a risk Samsung’s 2015 flagship devices are insufficient for the company to regain brand leadership among consumers and businesses looking for high-end smartphone experiences,” said Thomas Husson, an analyst at another consultancy, Forrester, in a note after Sunday’s launch.

“Samsung’s lack of software DNA will still prevent it from delivering truly differentiated service experiences like Apple does.”

Also present at the congress were two of the world’s other biggest-selling smartphone makers, Chinese companies Huawei and Xiaomi.

Joining in the rush for big launches on the eve of the trade fair, Huawei unveiled its first “smartwatch”, a round luxury design that, like LG’s, can display incoming call and message alerts.

The companies refused to cite consumer prices for the new products. Top end smartphones typically cost several hundred dollars. – AFP

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories