Sam­sung puts off phone de­but

Tech show an­nounce­ment keys on safety tests, tablets

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - HAY­LEY TSUKAYAMA

A more cau­tious Sam­sung was on dis­play Sun­day at the Mo­bile World Congress, the an­nual tech­nol­ogy show in Barcelona. As the com­pany works to re­gain its rep­u­ta­tion af­ter last year’s un­prece­dented re­call of the Galaxy Note 7 phone, it de­cided not to in­tro­duce a new smart­phone at the show, break­ing with tra­di­tion over the past three years.

Sam­sung set the tone of its news con­fer­ence ahead of the show’s open­ing Mon­day with a video show­cas­ing its safety test­ing pro­ce­dures rather than tout­ing the past year’s suc­cesses or of­fer­ing a flashy prod­uct an­nounce­ment.

“In­no­va­tion is our legacy. Qual­ity is our pri­or­ity,” the com­pany’s video said.

The com­pany fo­cused its pre­sen­ta­tion on new tablets, while an­nounc­ing that its next phone will get its time in the spot­light at a March 29 re­lease event.

The com­pany did not elab­o­rate on why the phone’s re­lease will come later, but it said last month when it re­ported the re­sults of the Note 7 in­ves­ti­ga­tion that it may de­lay its new phone’s de­but.

The next phone will have a new de­sign, David Lowes, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer for Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Europe, said in a live stream of the Barcelona news con­fer­ence. Apart from an ad with the tagline “Un­box your phone” that showed a styl­ized il­lus­tra­tion of a phone with an edge-to-edge screen, the com­pany pro­vided no fur­ther de­tails about its next model.

The next Galaxy phone will be a cru­cial test for Sam­sung, which had waged a suc­cess­ful cam­paign to chip away at Ap­ple’s iPhone be­fore the Note 7 cri­sis. The com­pany has apol­o­gized for re­leas­ing phones that caught fire and ex­ploded but has yet to fol­low up with a new smart­phone to woo cus­tomers back and prove its stated com­mit­ment to safety.

With the Note 7, Sam­sung flubbed an op­por­tu­nity to score points off Ap­ple, which

in 2016 re­ported a year­long de­cline in iPhone sales for the first time. Sam­sung re­ported that it lost at least $5 bil­lion in sales and losses re­lated to the re­call. And that is not the only cri­sis fac­ing the tech gi­ant: Sam­sung also drew head­lines this month af­ter the South Korean gov­ern­ment ar­rested its vice chair­man and com­pany heirap­par­ent, Lee Jae-yong, on bribery charges.

The ef­fect th­ese prob­lems have had on Sam­sung’s re­la­tion­ship with its cus­tomers has been dif­fi­cult to quan­tify, but anal­y­sis firm IDC re­ported that Ap­ple re­gained its lead over Sam­sung in smart­phone ship­ments in the last quar­ter of 2016.

Still, de­spite its more mea­sured tone in Barcelona, Sam­sung didn’t pull all its punches. The com­pany show­cased two tablets with de­signs that ap­pear meant to take on top com­peti­tors, in­clud­ing Ap­ple and Mi­crosoft. The new 9.7-inch Galaxy

Tab S3 is a high-end up­date to its An­droid tablet line. It will ship with the com­pany’s S Pen sty­lus.

Sam­sung also showed off the Galaxy Book, a tablet that comes with a key­board and sty­lus, which kicks off a new prod­uct line to com­pete with Ap­ple’s iPad Pro and Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face line. Un­like its com­peti­tors, Sam­sung will ship the Galaxy Book with the ac­ces­sories nec­es­sary to make it a lap­top re­place­ment. Sam­sung also made it a point to court the same cre­ative class of cus­tomers — artists and de­sign­ers who can take full ad­van­tage of its sty­lus — as have Ap­ple and Mi­crosoft.

Sam­sung is try­ing to re­build its rep­u­ta­tion by of­fer­ing fewer and higher-qual­ity prod­ucts, a strat­egy that could im­prove its stand­ing and reap greater prof­its, an­a­lysts said.

“Sam­sung is recom­mit­ting to its higher per­for­mance units, which of­fer bet­ter profit mar­gins and op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­hance the brand,” said Rhoda Alexan­der, di­rec­tor at IHS Tech­nol­ogy, in a re­search note shortly af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tion.

Bloomberg News/PAU BARRENA

A Mo­bile World Congress at­tendee tries out Sam­sung’s Gear vir­tual re­al­ity sys­tem Mon­day at the gath­er­ing in Barcelona, Spain.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.