Samsung eyes youth with gam­ing in Galaxy Note 9

Samsung is count­ing on the Note 9 to out­sell the Note 8

Kuwait Times - - Technology & Science -

SEOUL: Samsung Elec­tron­ics Co Ltd un­veiled the Galaxy Note 9 “ph­ablet” in New York in a key prod­uct launch that it hopes will at­tract younger cus­tomers with stepped-up fea­tures and ser­vices for gamers and mu­si­clovers. Launch­ing the Note 9 at 11 am in New York, or Fri­day mid­night in Seoul, Samsung also an­nounced part­ner­ships with global hit game Fort­nite and mu­sic­stream­ing ser­vice Spo­tify Tech­nol­ogy SA in a steppedup chal­lenge to Ap­ple Inc in the pre­mium-phone race.

Samsung’s new fo­cus marks a shift away from its pre­vi­ous po­si­tion­ing of the Note as a multi-task­ing de­vice pop­u­lar with graphic de­sign­ers and artists. But the hefty price tag - at $999.99 for the base 128 gi­ga­byte model, ac­cord­ing to US car­rier Ver­i­zon Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc has raised ques­tions as to whether fea­tures such as a longer bat­tery life and quick cool­ing would be enough to at­tract cus­tomers.

“I couldn’t find any­thing that was eye-catch­ing enough to prompt cus­tomers to ig­nore the high price tag,” said Greg Roh, an an­a­lyst at Hyundai Mo­tor Se­cu­ri­ties. Shares of Samsung were down 3.5 per­cent in Seoul, mir­ror­ing weak­ness in other chip-re­lated stocks. Samsung is un­der pres­sure to jump-start fal­ter­ing smart­phone sales af­ter post­ing its slow­est quar­terly profit growth in more than a year, as ri­vals such as China’s Huawei Tech­nolo­gies nipped at its heels with cheaper, fea­ture-packed mod­els.

The Note 9 will sup­port up to 1 ter­abyte of mem­ory a 512GB ver­sion that can take an­other 512GB through a mem­ory card - mak­ing Samsung the first ma­jor smart­phone maker to sell a 1TB phone. The ph­ablet - a cross be­tween a smart­phone and a tablet - will hit stores on Aug. 24, Samsung said. Ver­i­zon said the Note 9 will be avail­able for pre-or­der from Aug. 10, with the 512GB model priced at $1,249.99. Sprint Corp will in­tro­duce the de­vice on Aug. 24 at a 50 per­cent dis­count as part of a pro­mo­tional scheme.

Mu­sic and games

The Note 9 is the first An­droid phone to sup­port Fort­nite, a hugely pop­u­lar video-and-smart­phone sur­vival game that was only playable on com­put­ers, con­soles and Ap­ple prod­ucts un­til now. It also comes with a Blue­tooth-en­abled sty­lus de­signed to act as a re­mote for snap­ping photos and con­trol­ling YouTube video play­back.

The New York event also fea­tured a Samsung Galaxy watch and Galaxy Home speaker, a de­vice that will use its Bixby voice as­sis­tant and com­pete with sim­i­lar prod­ucts from Ama­ Inc, Ap­ple and Al­pha­bet Inc’s Google. Spo­tify will be sup­ported on the speak­ers, along with all other Samsung de­vices - news that sent shares in the mu­sic-stream­ing ser­vice provider up nearly 5 per­cent.

Samsung is count­ing on the Note 9 to out­sell the Note 8 to stem a sales slump. It said last month its flag­ship Galaxy S9 phone missed sales tar­gets, send­ing prof­its in the mo­bile divi­sion down by a third in the April-June quarter. Samsung does not break out ship­ments of its smart­phone mod­els, but an­a­lysts reckon it has shipped around 10 mil­lion Note 8 mod­els so far.

“The jury is still out if the de­vice can boost sales of Samsung’s pre­mium cat­e­gory,” mo­bile phone mar­ket tracker Coun­ter­point Re­search said in a blog, point­ing to stiff com­pe­ti­tion from the iPhone X, Huawei’s P20 Pro and the Find X from China’s Oppo Elec­tron­ics. “The price is a big fac­tor.” Huawei pre­dicted last week it would be­come the world’s top smart­phone seller by vol­ume - dis­plac­ing Samsung - in the fi­nal quarter of next year, while Ap­ple sold more of its $1,000 iPhone Xs in the June quarter.

NEW YORK: Drew Blackard, Samsung’s Se­nior Direc­tor of Prod­uct Mar­ket­ing, speaks about the new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smart­phone dur­ing a prod­uct launch event at the Bar­clays Cen­ter on August 9, 2018 in the Brook­lyn bor­ough of New York City. —AFP photos

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