Samsung eyes reset with new Galaxy Note

Samsung on Wednesday unveiled a new model of its Galaxy Note as it seeks to leave behind the debacle over exploding batteries in the previous generation of the device, and mount a renewed challenge to Apple and its soon-to-come iPhone 8.

Introducing the Note 8 “phablet” at an event in New York City, executives repeatedly thanked fans who had remained loyal to the device.

“None of us will ever forget what happened last year,” said Samsung president of mobile communications business DJ Koh.

“But, I will never forget how millions of dedicated Note loyalists stayed with us, so let me express my deepest gratitude.”

But the device left some analysts underwhelmed by its lack of new features beyond a dual-lens camera for telephoto zoom — already available on the iPhone7 Plus.


Shares in Samsung Electronics ended almost unchanged at 2 376 000 won, up just 0.08%, in its native South Korea Thursday with uncertainty over the fate of Lee Jae-Yong, the company’s de-facto head, also weighing on market sentiment.

The heir to the Samsung empire faces a verdict Friday in a corruption trial which could see him jailed for 12 years, threatening a leadership crisis at the world’s biggest smartphone maker.

Analysts mixed

The South Korean giant laid claim to being the first smartphone maker to field a “phablet” device — combining features of smartphones and tablets — when it introduced the first Note five years ago.

Samsung did not disclose the price of the Note 8, which will hit shops on September 15 but will be available for pre-orders starting Thursday.

“All in all, it was a good day for Samsung,” Moore Insights and Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead said at the event.

“The Note 7 is clearly behind them and now it’s onto the future with the Note 8.”

The analyst depicted the Note 8 as Samsung’s best opportunity in years to gain market share in the fiercely competitive premium smartphone market.

But Lee Kyu-Ha, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities said it was “somewhat disappointing” and said it had “no significant change” from the Galaxy S8 smartphone beyond the dual cameras.

iPhone turns 10

The Note 8 debut comes on the heels of Samsung launching new Galaxy 8 smartphones, and as the South Korean consumer electronics giant and fellow market leader Apple seek wow factors that can help them fend off challenges from rising Chinese-based manufacturers.

Apple is under particular pressure to dazzle as the culture-changing California iPhone maker looks for a way to maintain its image as an innovation leader in a global market showing signs of slowing.

Apple is expected to unveil a 10th anniversary version of the iPhone in September.

“Clearly, Apple wants to do something different,” NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker told AFP.

Reports say the new iPhone will include a high-quality, edge-to-edge screen with a notch in the top for an extra camera supporting 3D facial recognition.

Some speculate that the back of the new handset will be glass and will offer wireless charging.

Meanwhile, Google-made Pixel smartphones that debuted last year will likely get a second generation in the months ahead.

Global smartphone sales saw a modest decline of 0.8% in the second quarter of 2017, an IDC survey showed.

Samsung maintained top spot in the crowded field with a 23.3 percent market share, while Apple held onto second place with 12 percent, according to IDC.

“Samsung had the Note 7 debacle, but it appears their troubles are behind them,” GlobalData analyst Avi Greengart told AFP. “Samsung is doing some amazing things with its display and design.”

‘Infinity’ and beyond 

Note 8 handsets boasted “infinity” screens that span edge-to-edge on handsets, to enhance the viewing of video or help to juggle multiple tasks.

Samsung said it also built its Bixby virtual assistant smarts into Note 8 as it battles to compete with artificial intelligence being meshed into handsets powered by Apple or Google-backed Android software.

Note 8 also boasted water and dust resistance, along with wireless charging capability.

In an interview with CNBC, Koh confirmed that Samsung is working on a smart speaker infused with Bixby that will take on home assistant devices fielded by Amazon, Google and Apple.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

The best just got better: Samsung launches new generation of air conditioners

You can tell your Samsung air conditioner what to do with a touch or with your smartphone

WHO urges calm as China coronavirus death toll reaches 2000

More than 74 000 people have now been infected by the virus in China, with hundreds more cases in some 25 countries

Introducing the Samsung Galaxy S20: Change the way you experience the world

The Samsung Galaxy S20 series features unprecedented AI camera technologies built for the future of communications

How deep can you go in 15 minutes with Ebro?

M&G sat down with ‘Old Man Ebro’ during his Apple Music trip to SA, to see what a few minutes of conversation could produce. Apparently, a lot...

Apple pulls Hong Kong app used by protesters after China warning

The tech giant's pulling of HKmap.live was blasted as bowing to China

How to (kind of) make it as a M&G columnist

There will be rejection in the form of no replies, which will haunt you for days. Keep going.
Advertising

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Eastern Cape universities concerned by rising Covid cases

Fort Hare says 26 more students have tested positive while Walter Sisulu University says some of its students have been admitted to hospital.

SAA in talks to recoup R350-million in blocked funds...

The cash-strapped national carrier is in the process of recouping its blocked funds from Zimbabwe, which could go towards financing the airline’s business rescue plan

NSFAS’s woes do not help its mandate

Nehawu wants the scheme’s administrator, Randall Carolissen, to be removed

Unions cry foul over SABC dismissal costs and retrenchments

Broadcaster bodies say claims that a recent skills audit is unrelated to retrenchments are ‘irrational’
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday