Samsung Electronics plans to unveil its latest Galaxy Note phablet a few weeks earlier than usual, moving it to mid-August, according to multiple reports. Samsung appears to be breaking with tradition in order to give the new device more breathing room ahead of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) expected release of its latest iPhones in September.
The reports, citing unnamed sources, said that Samsung will not announce the device, expected to be called the Galaxy Note 5, at the annual IFA electronics trade show in Berlin that takes place in early September. The Wall Street Journal said the mid-August launch event is being planned for a major U.S. city that hasn't been decided yet, though Samsung has announced major new devices in New York City before.
Samsung has used IFA as a platform for announcing the Note since the first one debuted in 2011. The Galaxy Note line, which has proved to be a strong hit with consumers, was the catalyst for establishing the phablet category and helped propel Samsung to new heights as the leader of the smartphone market.
Samsung declined to comment, according to Reuters.
The shifting of the launch plans comes as Samsung is trying to regain its momentum in the smartphone market following the debut of its flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones in April, and after the company saw its mobile sales and profits drop year-over-year in 2014. Earlier this week, the company said it expects operating profit to drop in the second quarter, which would represent the seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines in profit. Samsung likely underestimated how strong demand would be for its Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone, analysts said.
Last year Apple took steps to close the gap with the Galaxy Note line by introducing the iPhone 6 Plus, which sports a 5.5-inch screen that comes close to the Galaxy Note 4's 5.7-inch screen. Moreover, Apple announced the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus just six days after the Galaxy Note 4 was introduced on Sept. 3, 2014. The Galaxy Note 4 went on sale weeks after the new iPhones, so announcing the new Note in August could help Samsung grab more of the media spotlight and get the new phablet out to carriers and stores ahead of the next iPhone launch.
"I don't know how much the earlier launch will help boost the company's average selling price for smartphones, but this suggests that Samsung will work hard to maintain its market share for the high-end market," HDC Asset Management fund manager Park Jung-hoon told Reuters.
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
Samsung expects Q2 profit to fall, possibly due to misjudging Galaxy S6 Edge demand
Analysts lower Samsung Q2 earnings expectations amid concerns over Galaxy S6 sales
Kantar: Samsung's Galaxy S6 helps cut into Apple's share of U.S. smartphone market
Analyst: Samsung sold 6M Galaxy S6, S6 Edge units through end of April
Report: Phablets made up 21% of U.S. smartphones sales in Q1, with the iPhone 6 Plus leading the way
Samsung regains No. 1 spot in smartphones, promises improved profits thanks to Galaxy S6