Samsung sets high bar for Note9, scoffs at S9 critics

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Samsung sets high bar for Note9, scoffs at S9 critics

Samsung Electronics expects the Galaxy Note9 to beat its predecessor in terms of sales and said on Monday that sales of the S9 released earlier this year were not as weak as industry analysts suggested.

Last week, the Korean tech giant showcased the Note9, its latest flagship model equipped with a 4,000-ampere hour (mAh) battery and Bluetooth-powered stylus. The top-end version comes with a whopping 512 gigabytes of storage capacity.

In the second quarter, Samsung’s operating profit in the IT and mobile business reached 2.67 trillion won ($2.36 billion), down 34 percent from a year earlier. Industry analysts attributed the weak performance to lackluster sales of the S9.

“When we look at the trend of Galaxy S9 sales, the figure has been increasing, and in some regions, the performance even outpaced the Galaxy S8,” said Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung Electronics and head of the mobile business. “The Galaxy S8 was released in April last year, and the Galaxy S9 went on sale in March. When we look at the first six months, sales rather increased by 6 percent. It is not too late to make a judgment [on the S9] at the end of the year.”

Koh expects the Note9 to sell better than the Note8 on the back of its improved specifications, including the stylus.

“The Galaxy Note9 boasts the very best performance with the specialized S-pen as well as the smart camera,” Koh said. “We hope sales will outpace the Galaxy Note 8’s.”

Koh also said engineers are confident in the safety of the 4,000-mAh battery in the Note9. Production of the Note7 was suspended shortly after its release due to reports of batteries catching fire.

“The battery in the Galaxy Note9 is safer than ever,” Koh said. “Users do not have to worry about the batteries anymore.”

Koh also said the stylus pen of the Galaxy Note smartphones will continue to evolve further down the road.

As for competition in the global market, Koh said the company would continue to release mid-range smartphones to solidify its leadership.

“In India, Xiaomi became the No. 1 player in the fourth quarter last year in terms of units sold,” Koh said, “but revenue is also important. In terms of sales, Samsung is the leading player in India. Samsung also outpaced Xiaomi in the market in terms of shipment volume in the second quarter.”

Koh said the sales portion of top-end devices is significantly small in emerging markets. The company plans to apply new technologies on budget-range smartphones as well. He also expressed hope for the company’s presence in the Chinese market.

“In terms of size, China is a market we cannot give up,” Koh said.

On the voice assistant Bixby, Samsung said it counted 34.5 million users registered to the system as of Aug. 5, with 49 percent of them using the program at least once a month.

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