Biz / Tech

Samsung puts debacle behind and reset with Galaxy Note 8

AFP
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.
AFP

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 iPhone 7 Plus.

Shares in Samsung Electronics ended almost flat at 2,376,000 won (US$2,109), up just 0.08 percent, in South Korea yesterday 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 today in a corruption trial which could see him jailed for 12 years, threatening a leadership crisis at the world’s biggest smartphone maker.

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 from yesterday.

“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.”

Moorehead 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.

The Note 8 debut comes on the heels of Samsung launching new Galaxy S8 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.



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