ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronCrossEye IconFacebook IconIcon FacebookGoogle Plus IconLayer 1InstagramCreated with Sketch.Linkedin IconIcon LinkedinShapeCreated with Sketch.Icon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerIcon Opinion QuotePositive ArrowIcon PrintRSS IconIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronTwitter IconIcon TwitterYoutube Icon

Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 scores few points for novelty

Smartphone leader tries to hold high end as Chinese rivals gain in emerging markets

Samsung employees celebrate the launch of the new Galaxy Note 9.   © Reuters

SEOUL/NEW YORK -- The latest high-end phone unveiled by Samsung Electronics on Thursday drew a muted reaction from watchers who had been expecting a slew of new features to counter the impression that the world's top smartphone maker is in decline.

The Galaxy Note 9 does contain a number of hardware upgrades, notably a battery that holds 20% more power than its predecessor, allowing users to go an entire day without recharging, according to Samsung. The device also has a high-resolution 6.4-inch organic LED screen.

These improvements failed to make the phone stand out for some. One Frenchman who attended the launch event in Brooklyn, New York, saw a lack of wholly new features. The Wall Street Journal called the Note 9 "strikingly like its predecessor," although it did favorably mention the Bluetooth-enabled stylus.

The new model goes on sale Aug 24, but Samsung's flagship Galaxy 9 phone, released in March, has languished. Samsung's global shipments fell 10% on the year in the April-June quarter, data from IDC shows. Revenue in the IT and mobile communications segment dropped by twice as much during the three-month period, showing a loss of sales in high-end phones.

Meanwhile, Chinese rivals continue to cut into Samsung's lead, helped by their success in Indian and Southeast Asian markets that are experiencing double-digit growth. China's Xiaomi, the world's fourth-largest smartphone maker, pulled ahead of Samsung in India in the first quarter of this year.

In the second quarter, Huawei Technologies surpassed Apple to become the world's No. 2 smartphone company. If the Galaxy Note 9 ends up underperforming, Samsung stands a real risk of losing the crown to Huawei.

In contrast, prospects for Apple's high-end smartphones are looking up. Customers shelled out an average $724 per iPhone during the April-June quarter, besting analyst forecasts of $693.

Of the three new iPhone models expected out later this year, two will feature OLED screens, Apple watchers predict. The liquid-crystal-display model is expected to be priced below average for iPhones, suggesting that the company is targeting both the high and low ends of the mobile phone market.

You have {{numberReadArticles}} FREE ARTICLE{{numberReadArticles-plural}} left this month

Subscribe to get unlimited access to all articles.

Get unlimited access
NAR site on phone, device, tablet

{{sentenceStarter}} {{numberReadArticles}} free article{{numberReadArticles-plural}} this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most dynamic market in the world.

Benefit from in-depth journalism from trusted experts within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends September 30th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media