February release predicted for S7

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February release predicted for S7

When will Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S7 be unveiled? How is Apple’s iPhone 6s performing, and when will its successor arrive?

Korea Investment & Securities has come up with its best-informed answers in a recent report to respond to some of the questions smartphone users and investors are asking.

It predicts the S7, a follow-up to the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge models, is highly likely to debut at the Mobile World Congress scheduled in Barcelona late in February, not at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.The brokerage’s reason for predicting the later release is because it says hardware specifics for the S7 have yet to be decided, despite abundant rumors. Also, if it is unveiled in January, it may have a negative impact on sales of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5.

Regardless, sales are expected to kick off instantly after the showcase release, although it usually takes about six weeks for a smartphone to actually hit the market from its debut.

The S6 was unveiled in Barcelona in March and released on April 10. This time, the S7 is expected to go on sale in late February at the earliest, five weeks earlier than a year before.

As Samsung increasingly faces challenges from Chinese budget producers as well as its archrival Apple, which increased screen sizes to undermine Samsung’s previously dominant positioning in the phablet market, industry observers will be watching to see if the S7 props up the No. 1 position or leads to a downturn.

Although various sources have speculated the upcoming Samsung flagship model will be equipped with similar technology as 3D Touch and dual cameras in the iPhone 6s, the report says the chances are slim.

Kevin Lee, an analyst with Korea Investment & Securities, said, “Samsung needs some more time to completely figure out how to link dual cameras with software, and Apple’s latest screen technology, otherwise called ‘Force Touch,’ has yet to have its functions defined clearly.”

Samsung is expected to adopt both its own Exynos 8890 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 application processor for the S7.

The report reverses its previous forecast that the iPhone 6s, which went on sale in the United States and other countries in September, will sell 11 percent more during the initial three months than its predecessor.

The report says that disappointing sales anticipated in the first quarter of next year - up to 10 percent lower than that of iPhone 6 - will prompt Apple to come up with the tentatively named iPhone 6c early next year, a 4-inch model to target emerging markets. The model is expected to be $100 to $150 cheaper than previous iPhones.

Apple is currently deliberating on whether to introduce a next-generation OLED (organic light-emitting diode) panel for its mobile gadgets, ditching the LCD (liquid crystal display).

Both Samsung and LG are planning to mass-produce OLED panels in different sizes, with some being foldable. The report predicts Apple would adopt the futuristic foldable OLED, with production set for 2017 at the earliest.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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