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Technology

Samsung to launch new Galaxy in bid to regain smartphone crown

South Korean tech giant keen to rebound from pandemic slump to beat Huawei

Samsung is hoping to make up for a tough quarter hit by the coronavirus.    © Getty Images

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics will launch its new Galaxy Note smartphone and four other smart devices on Wednesday as it seeks to regain the title of global No. 1 smartphone maker from its Chinese rival Huawei Technologies.

Samsung said last month that it will introduce five new devices at this summer's Galaxy Unpacked event, which market watchers expect to be new Galaxy Note and Fold smartphones, a tablet, earphones and a smartwatch. The official online launch will be aired at 11 p.m. Seoul time, or 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. It is the first time for Samsung to host an online unpacking event.

"These devices deliver on our vision to be the innovator of new mobile experiences that flow seamlessly and continuously wherever we go," said T.M. Roh, president and head of the company's mobile communications business, in a statement.

In an official trailer released on Monday featuring popular Korean boy band BTS, the company said the new Note smartphone will be powerful and offer customers a broader range of experiences, but did not elaborate further on the device.

An industry source familiar with matter said the smartphone is powerful enough to handle serious gaming and is equipped with more developed smart pen functions.

The launch comes on the heels of Samsung losing its lead position in the global smartphone market in the second quarter, as Huawei's narrowly outpaced it in shipments. Counterpoint Research said last week that Huawei became the No. 1 smartphone maker in the April-to-June period for the first time, shipping 54.8 million units, or 600,000 more than Samsung.

Analysts expect that the new smartphone will lead Samsung's recovery as economies improve in key markets.

"For developed markets, the performance of its flagships -- Galaxy Note and S series -- will be the key driver for its growth, together with the mid-tier 5G product portfolio. This is especially true in European markets where Chinese brands are entering with their mid-tier products," Counterpoint said in a note.

August is also an important month for Samsung to attract customers for premium handsets before its U.S. rival Apple releases its new iPhone. The California-based company said last week that it will delay launch of iPhone 12 a few weeks compared to last year's launch, which came in late September.

Samsung said last week that its smartphone sales declined in the second quarter because of store closures in the U.S. and Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company vowed to increase sales by launching new smartphones including, the Galaxy Note.

According to research company IDC, Samsung suffered the most significant decline in smartphone sales among the top five vendors, as its premium devices were launched during the peak of the pandemic.

"While the A series continues to perform well contributing to the majority of its volume, premium devices such the Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy Z Flip, unfortunately launched in the peak of the pandemic, are facing sales challenges despite price reductions."

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