[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics is considering large-scale marketing activities for the upcoming Galaxy S8, including unconditional refunds after up to three-month use, Chosun Biz reported on March 22.
Samsung Electronics' latest marketing poster for the upcoming Galaxy S8
The report cited two reasons behind the aggressive marketing strategy.
The S8 that will be unveiled on March 29 features Samsung’s first artificial intelligence assistant Bixby, but only limited functions will be available in the early days of the launch.
The company will reportedly announce a software upgrade within the first half of this year for more functionality. Until then, Bixby will work with Samsung’s 10 preloaded apps, including the photo gallery, contacts and messaging.
Samsung acquired US startup Viv Labs, the company originally behind Apple’s Siri assistant, in October last year. Sources say the initial version of Bixby will use Samsung’s in-house technology only.
Samsung may also want to show its confidence in product quality after last year’s Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, the report said.
Following several fire and explosion accidents, the company suspended sales of the bigger-screen phone in a month after its release in August. About 4 million Note phones were sold globally and Samsung suffered more than 7 trillion won (US$6.23 billion) in operating loss.
“During the refund program for the Note 7, there were many loyal customers who were reluctant to return the phone. Samsung is showing confidence in its product quality,” an industry source was quoted saying.
But some critics, the report said, were skeptical about the refund program for the S8, citing the tricky handling of the returned phones and Apple’s iPhone 8 that is highly likely to debut in September.
Samsung declined to confirm the marketing plans.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com)