Samsung may be releasing Galaxy S7 earlier

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Samsung may be releasing Galaxy S7 earlier

Samsung Electronics, struggling with ever-weakening smartphone sales, may release its next-generation flagship smartphone in January, a month earlier than expected.

An insider at one of the mobile carriers in Korea leaked information in late November that its internal systems listed two different model names of new smartphones almost ready for sale.

The leaked model names on the list - SM-G930 and SM-G935 - correspond to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, according to SamMobile, a website specializing in Samsung.

Telecom companies make it a rule to test new smartphones on their networks up to two months prior to putting them up for sale.

It is unknown which of the three carriers - SK Telecom, KT or LG U+ - leaked the information.

The Galaxy S7 is expected to come in two variants as its predecessor, the S6, did: one with a normal front panel and one with curved screens on both sides. The code names for the Galaxy S6 and its S6 Edge cousin were SM-G920 and SM-G925.

The fact that Samsung proudly unveiled its latest application processor, the Exynos 8 Octa 8890, which is widely expected to power the S7, on Nov. 12 adds to speculation that the company is speeding up the S7 launch. While the S6 dropped Qualcomm’s Snapdragon AP in favor of the in-house Exynos 7420, Samsung has adopted the strategy of offering Snapdragon 820s in Galaxy S7s destined for overseas markets like the United States and China. Samsung is worried about AP supplies and also has a partnership with Qualcomm.

In 2013 and 2014, the world’s No. 1 smartphone producer unveiled its new Galaxy phones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in late February or early March and began selling them a month later. This year, the S6 was showcased in the Spanish city on March 1 and went on sale on April 10. The Barcelona show is scheduled for Feb. 22-25 in 2016.

Should S7 sales be advanced by a month, its debut may take place at the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world’s biggest IT fairs, which is scheduled for early January in Las Vegas.

Samsung already announced a press conference for the international press at 2 p.m. on Jan. 5 on the sidelines of the show.

“Given the CES is only a month away,” said a Samsung spokesman, “there is a slim chance we will showcase the S7 at the show.” The unveiling could take place at the WMC or a third country, he added.

The Galaxy Note 5 phablet and S6 Edge Plus, both with 5.7-inch displays, were meant to compete against Apple models but failed to meet expectations.

“Despite the launch of the Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Electronics’ operating profit for the fourth quarter will decline from the previous quarter, due to stagnating smartphone sales and increased marketing costs,” Lee Se-chul, a researcher at NH Investment & Securities, said.

The brokerage house forecasts operating profit at the IT and mobile communications division in the October-December period will shrink 300 billion won ($256.8 million) to 2.1 trillion won from the preceding three months.

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