Samsung launches costly new note as pandemic shrinks smartphone market

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SEOUL: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled its latest Galaxy Note smartphone on Wednesday in hopes of gaining ground against rivals Huawei and Apple as the smartphone market begins to recover from its COVID-19 slump.

Samsung launched its previous top-of-the-line model, the S20, in February at the start of the pandemic, but since then it has ceded its top spot in the smartphone market to China’s Huawei, as people opt for cheaper models. in difficult times.

The new Note 20 features a larger 17cm (6.7in) screen, 5G connectivity, improved writing features with its S-Pen stylus, and access to over 100 games on console and PC via a link with Microsoft’s Xbox cloud service.

It will go on sale from August 21 in around 70 countries, including the United States, where the base version will cost US $ 999, compared to the predecessor’s US $ 949.

“The timing is uncertain to launch a new high-end device given the tough competitive and economic environments,” said Paolo Pescatore, analyst at PP Foresight Tech, adding that the “awful price” could deter some buyers.

Apple fans are unlikely to jump into the new Samsung model, as the iPhone 5G is expected to launch later this year, analysts say.

Samsung saw a 29% year-on-year drop in shipments in the June quarter, the biggest drop among major vendors, according to researcher IDC. Apple, which launched the economy SE during the period, remained resilient with shipments growing 11% year-on-year, while Huawei only saw a 5% decline.

The global smartphone market was down about 16% year-on-year in the April-June quarter due to COVID-19 lockdowns and consumer cautiousness, a larger contraction than in the first quarter, and is expected to improve only slightly in the second half of the year, IDC said. .

“It’s not until the first half of 2021 that most countries around the world will begin to show positive growth in smartphone shipments,” said Nabila Popal, research director at data provider IDC.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Douglas Busvine; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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