[THE INVESTOR] Tech giant Samsung Electronics is expected to release its Galaxy S8 in mid-April, according to sources close to the matter on Jan.9.
“Samsung Electronics has confirmed that the release schedule has been set in mid-April, possibly in the third week,” an industry source told The Investor on the condition of anonymity.
This would be a delay from March, which is when Samsung has usually released its latest flagship model every year.
Some news outlets have reported that the actual release date may be April 18, but Samsung refused to confirm.
“We cannot confirm the details of the Galaxy S8 launch,” said Cho Seo-hee, a spokesperson of Samsung Electronics.
The previous flagship models were usually unveiled two to four weeks before they hit the shelves.
Meanwhile, Samsung suppliers recently told The Investor that the world’s largest smartphone maker has set a shipment goal of 60 million this year for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone, higher than that of its previous flagship models.
“Samsung has requested its partners to provide their supplies based on the tech giant’s 60-million shipment goal,” said one source at a supplier.
The shipment goal for the S8 is much higher than the number of cumulative shipments of the firm’s flagship models over the past three years: S5 (45 million), S6 (45 million) and S7 (48 million). The Galaxy S4, released in 2013, shipped a record 70 million, while the S3 marked 65 million.
“As the release date of the S8 has been postponed to mid-April, Samsung seems to have set a more ambitious goal than before to make up for the loss caused by the Note model,” another industry source said.
The mass production of the S8 will start in March after Samsung receives electronic parts in February from its main vendors, including camera iris scanner module maker Partron and camera lens firm Sekonix.
Wireless module maker Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Amotech are expected to supply radio frequency modules, which are used for near-field communication systems, in March, while secondary vendors such as Hansol Technics will likely start offering parts from April.
Samsung showed improved performance in the fourth quarter of 2015, but it has been hit by a double whammy consisting of the Note 7 failure and faltering global smartphone demand.
According to a recent report by market research firm IDC, the global smartphone market grew only 1.6 percent in 2016 with the number of smartphone shipments standing at 1.46 billion while it is forecast to grow at around 4 percent this year. The projected growth figure for 2017 is much lower than the double-digit rate in the early years of the smartphone era.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)