Record 550,000 preorders for Galaxy S8 phones

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Record 550,000 preorders for Galaxy S8 phones

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Limited edition Galaxy S8-Asiana

The Galaxy S8, Samsung Electronics’ latest premium smartphone, has received a record-high number of preorders - 550,000 in just two days, according to telecom operators Sunday.

The preorder tally for the S8, which has a 5.8-inch display, and its bigger cousin the S8+, which has a 6.2-inch display, is 2.75 times more than the 200,000 preorders for the Note7 in its first two days, Aug 6 and Aug 7. The Note7 was the model that was recalled and eventually discontinued for bursting into flames.

Preorders for the S8 were 5.5 times more than the previous Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge models. In the first two days - March 11 and March 12, 2016 - they garnered 100,000 preorders.

Samsung said that “such an explosive response” is the result of pent-up demand after the Note7 was discontinued last October, even though sales of the S7 and S7 Edge filled some of that void.

Lower-than-expected prices also helped the S8, on which Samsung is counting to restore its reputation for safety and quality and maintain its standing as the world’s No. 1 smartphone producer.

The retail price for an S8 with 64 gigabytes of storage starts at 935,000 won ($822), compared to the S8+’s 990,000 won for the same storage capacity. The most expensive version of the S8+ with 128 gigabytes of storage will retail for 1,155,000 won.

The most popular colors for the new phones are orchid gray and midnight black. Both are new with the S8 family.

Depending on mobile carriers and monthly plans, prospective buyers may be offered subsidies of between 79,000 won and 264,000 won. The more expensive a monthly plan, the bigger the subsidy.

The Korean tech giant began accepting preorders for the S8 on Friday. People placing preorders can get their phones on April 18, three days earlier than the date Samsung originally announced. Offline sales kick off on April 21.

Brokerage houses and market researchers predict the S8 series will ship 43 million to as many as 60 million units around the world by the end of this year.

The S8 offers a range of cutting-edge features including an artificially-intelligent voice assistant Bixby. It is the first phone to offer three types of security system: iris, fingerprint and facial scanning.

After some experts raised questions about the facial recognition system working with photos of the owner, Samsung said the feature is meant to be used to unlock the phone and recommended the more secure iris scanning for payments and financial transactions.


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

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