Sam­sung ups large-screen fight against Ap­ple

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Sam­sung un­veiled two new smart­phones Thurs­day to ramp up its ef­forts to win over con­sumers seek­ing large-screen hand­sets, and an­nounced launch dates for its mo­bile pay­ment ser­vice.

The moves are aimed at keep­ing the South Korean gi­ant atop the global smart­phone mar­ket and coun­ter­ing U.S. ri­val Ap­ple, which has made gains with its large-screen iPhone 6 and 6-Plus and its tap-to-pay fea­ture.

At a New York media event, Sam­sung un­veiled its Gal­axy S6 edge+, the latest up­date for its flag­ship de­vice, and Gal­axy Note5, its main de­vice in the “ph­ablet” mar­ket.

“To­day the jour­ney con­tin­ues in the large-screen cat­e­gory that Sam­sung cre­ated,” said J.K. Shin, Sam­sung’s head of IT and mo­bile com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

The S6 edge+ and Note5 each have a 5.7-inch dis­play, but the S6 has smaller over­all di­men­sions and a curved “dual edge” screen that sets aside a por­tion of the dis­play for con­tacts or other con­tent.

The com­pany also an­nounced that its Sam­sung Pay ser­vice would roll out in South Korea on Aug. 20 and in the United States on Sept. 28, and that it would launch in Bri­tain, Spain and China with part­ners to be named in each mar­ket.

Shin said he ex­pects wide adop­tion be­cause Sam­sung Pay “doesn’t cause small busi­ness to up­grade their ter­mi­nals and will be ac­cepted al­most ev­ery­where on day one.”

Sam­sung said its mo­bile ser­vice can be used with mag­netic stripe ter­mi­nals as well as those us­ing up­dated NFC or “near field com­mu­ni­ca­tion” con­tact­less pay­ments em­ployed by Ap­ple Pay.

In­Jong Rhee, Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics vice pres­i­dent, said that “NFC is fine tech­nol­ogy but most stores don’t have it.”

He added that Sam­sung Pay will be se­cured by its Knox soft­ware, which cre­ates a one-time code with­out trans­mit­ting credit card num­bers.

Sam­sung has re­mained atop the global smart­phone mar­ket even though its sales have been slip­ping in the past year.

With the new de­vices, Sam­sung ex­pands from its 5.1 inch dis­play on the ex­ist­ing Gal­axy S6, and leapfrogs Ap­ple’s hand­sets at 4.7 and 5.5 inches.

The new hand­sets, which have Sam­sung Pay and wire­less charg­ing op­tions in­te­grated, will go on sale in the U.S. and Canada on Au­gust 21, Sam­sung said.

The Note5 is the up­graded ver­sion of the ph­ablet which Sam­sung is gen­er­ally cred­ited with pop­u­lar­iz­ing. The new de­vice has a new pop-out pen sty­lus and shares its up­graded 16-megapixel cam­era with the S6 edge+.

Kan­tar World­panel an­a­lyst Carolina Mi­lanesi said Sam­sung trailed Ap­ple in the ph­ablet mar­ket — de­vices with screens at 5.5 inches and above — in the sec­ond quar­ter.

Avi Green­gart at the re­search firm Cur­rent Anal­y­sis said on Twit­ter that “Note5 is a wor­thy up­grade, but un­likely to ex­pand the cat­e­gory” and that the S6 edge+ “is pretty but hard to hold.”

Daniel Glee­son at IHS Tech­nol­ogy said the Note5 ap­pears aimed at pro­fes­sion­als and busi­ness users due to its sty­lus and key­board at­tach­ment, while the S6 edge+ “is a much more fash­ion-for­ward de­vice and is likely to ap­peal to a younger, hip­per mar­ket.”

Ac­cord­ing to IDC, Sam­sung led the smart­phone mar­ket in the sec­ond quar­ter with a 21.7 per­cent mar­ket share, even though sales dipped from a year ear­lier and its mar­ket share was be­low 24.8 per­cent in the same pe­riod a year ago.

Ap­ple, which briefly took the lead in the fourth quar­ter of 2014 with its new iPhones, saw its mar­ket share rise more than two points from a year ear­lier to 14.1 per­cent, IDC said.

Glee­son said Sam­sung Pay faces chal­lenges be­cause of the head start by Ap­ple and Google’s An­droid Pay.

“Un­like Ap­ple which has ac­cu­mu­lated 800 mil­lion pay­ment card ac­counts as­so­ci­ated with iTunes, Sam­sung lacks this crit­i­cal el­e­ment for its pay­ment ser­vice to quickly gain trac­tion,” he said in a note to clients.

AP

A prod­uct ex­pert demon­strates the Sam­sung Pay dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion at Lin­coln Cen­ter in New York, Thurs­day, Aug. 13. The Sam­sung Pay mo­bile pay­ment ser­vice will de­but in South Korea this month.

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