It was not what Samsung or its investors were hoping for.
The company’s electronics division has just released a decline in its most recent net profit – and it says “lower than expected sales of its flagship Galaxy S9 smartphone at fault.
The handset launched in the month of February to a mixed reception.
The critics have praised some of his new tricks of the camera, including the way in which it has made it relatively easy to capture the key moments of the “super-slow-motion video.
But they also put in doubt the fact that the company had given consumers reason enough to upgrade.
What is Samsung saying?
Despite speculation that the S9 sales have been the series weak as the S3, the company has not notified the exact number.
The closest it came was to confirm the division managers had suffered a 20% decrease in revenue.
But the leaders do not address the issue in the head during a conference call in which they made reference to a “stagnant market”.
“As smartphones, high-spec and product differentiation is becoming less clear, the global handset replacement cycles are increasing more and more,” said a representative.
“Also, the higher price points of high-quality products that appear to drive the market to the resistance.”
In other words, Samsung believes that the S9 is not able to distinguish itself from other high-end phones at the same time, because it is too expensive for many pockets of the consumers.Because the S9 struggled to emerge from?
With a few exceptions, most of the smartphones look very similar these days: a flat panel of glass fixed to a curved metal back, with the frames reduced to a minimum.
In particular, the physical differences between the S8 and S9 s external were fairly minor, with the auditors left to obsess over a slight change in the position of the fingerprint sensor.
The other big hardware change was the S9 introduction of a dual system of opening of the aperture of the lens. But that has proved a hard sell to anyone beyond the photography geek that you probably already have a dedicated camera.
“And the phone is exceptional, but I don’t think there was enough differentiation,” said Roberta Cozza, from the technical advice of Gartner.
“Differentiation today comes from creating interesting experiences, and I don’t think Samsung has done enough in that area yet.
“[His artificial intelligence assistant] Bixby, for example, was not the success he had always desired.”
Samsung is far from the only laptop maker to have made its most radical changes in over a two-year basis, with more limited changes between the models.
But another expert has suggested that this strategy had become problematic.
“What has changed in the last 18 months is that the rate of commodification has become much faster, in terms of the speed with which the specifications and the features of the design can be copied from one brand to another,” said Ben Stanton, a technical analyst of Canalys.
“When the Galaxy S8 launched in 2017, has been a pioneer of product and nothing seemed.
“But now there is a flood of devices that are very similar and sometimes better price.”What threat do Chinese rivals pose?
China has presented Samsung with an enormous opportunity. In these days, is not a threat.
The South Korean company has used to be the bestselling smartphone brand in China, the largest smartphone market.
Now, it has been relegated to the “other” section ” the market share charts and the national companies that dominate the economy.
What’s more, those same Chinese companies are making great strides abroad. If it had not been for the resistance to leave the Chinese phones in the market, the S9 sales could have been much worse.
“Xiaomi, in particular, is doing a great job of bringing the specifications associated with premium phones like Samsung down for much cheaper price points,” said Mr. Stanton.
“And does that within six to nine months of a new innovation coming to market.
“On the other hand, we are seeing Huawei going over the technologies that Samsung offers.
“Embedded in its chipset, triple cameras on the back of his P20 Pro – is really raising the bar.”
Of course, it’s not just the Chinese brands that are on the increase.
Google Pixel phones that offer the unique features of them have also won applause.
Last year, the search giant has hired 2,000 engineers from taiwan’s HTC. We should soon see the benefits of their efforts when the third generation of the Pixel range launches.Is Samsung too focused on Apple?
As innovative as its Android rivals, Samsung has always been able to outspend their marketing.
But some wonder if it is to do it with wisdom.
In particular, recent efforts to throw a shadow of Apple in the US have attracted criticism.
We began in May, suggesting the iPhone speed is slow compared to their phones.
Then, more recently, laughed at the iPhone X the lack of a headphone jack and SD card slot, and took it around his front screen notch.
“These caused the aggressive behavior never typical of the prevailing party; it is more often exhibited by the losing team, who, realizing that the final seconds of the match ticking away, he began playing in a rough and desperate… the road,” said the news site Phone Arena in a recent editorial.
To be honest, the Apple was not there to make fun of the competition in his I’m-a-Mac/I’m-a-PC ads of the past. But the difference was that he was the loser.
“Samsung should probably leave this strategy behind and focus more on the characteristics that make her unique products,” said Ms Cozza.What is Samsung doing to fix the problem?
In the short term, Samsung said it had brought forward the launch of its Galaxy Note 9, which will make its debut on 9 August in New York.
He also said that the purpose of adding new features to its lower-end laptops to increase their appeal.
“We will also strengthen the competitiveness of the price,” added the head of the company’s mobile business, KyeongTae Lee – that sounds like a suggestion to lower the price.
In the long term, Samsung said that the introduction of bendy smartphone is expected to “bring new energy” to his line-up.
“We have been engaged in the research and development of smartphone folding for several years,” an unidentified executive has revealed during its conference call.
“We are in the process of stabilization of the performance and long life, thanks to the collaboration with one of the parts of the company.”
The comment backs up an earlier report in the Wall Street Journal, which said Samsung plans to release a phone in 2019, where the screen doubles as a wallet.
In the meantime, there is the launch of the S10 to come later this year, which could be the first of a new “unbreakable” screen announced by Samsung Display last week.
And it is worth remembering that, whatever the S9’s struggles, Samsung is thought to remain the world’s bestselling phone maker by a wide margin.