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Stakes are high for Samsung, as it promises new phones will meet expectations

Samsung’s mobile division head, D.J. Koh, has said the company’s forthcoming new devices will meet the expectations of those waiting for them. The Samsung executive talked up the new launches to a South Korean publication, which quotes him as saying, “I will try my best to meet the expectations of consumers who have been waiting for our products.”

The next Samsung Unpacked event — the name given to its most glitzy media gatherings — will take place on February 20 in San Francisco, and expectations are seriously high already. It’s expected we will be introduced to the Galaxy S10 family, and the long-awaited and much-rumored Samsung folding smartphone. As Samsung events go, it’s likely to be the most important, and most influential the company has held in some time.

Galaxy S10 and folding smartphone

Smartphone buyers will be hoping the Galaxy S10 is a greater step forward over the Galaxy S9, than the S9 was over the Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S10 will be the high-end device Samsung uses to battle Apple’s iPhone XS and XS Max, plus their sequels, for the next year. The folding smartphone, however, will be Samsung’s equivalent of the iPhone X — an exciting technical showcase built to coincide with an anniversary — in this case, the 10th anniversary of the Galaxy S series.

It’s also going to be a trendsetter. Samsung will be one of the very first to show a likely almost final folding smartphone, which will then be followed by other devices using this cutting-edge type of design from Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, LG, and others over the coming months. There are concerns over how folding smartphones will be used, and whether they’re anything more than gimmicks to capture our interest in the short term. Koh’s words emphasize he’s aware of this, but also how Samsung needs us to be excited about the new roster of hardware for the sake of the business.

Business challenges

Samsung’s smartphone sales and profits dropped at the end of 2018, which it blamed on greater competition, and in India — the world’s second-largest phone market after China — it lost the top spot in market share to Xiaomi, falling behind into second place. To help regain its control, Samsung has announced the new Galaxy M series in India this month.

Globally it faces an ongoing challenge from Huawei. CEO Richard Yu said in an interview that, “next year at the latest, we will become number one,” referring to its effort to knock Samsung off the top spot in the world’s smartphone market share chart. Huawei overtook Apple in 2018 to take second position, all while its smartphone sales increased 30 percent over 2017.

These factors, the excitement that has built around the anticipated new devices, and Koh’s personal reassurance shows how acutely aware Samsung is of its need to meet expectations at the end of February. Digital Trends will be at the event to bring you all the news.

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