[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics on July 10 confirmed it has no plans to roll out more Galaxy Note FE -- refurbished version of the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 -- in Korea despite the huge popularity since its debut last week.
“We have no plans to roll out more Note FE phones in Korea,” a Samsung official said.
Samsung plans to sell only 400,000 units of the phone in Korea. Plans for its global launch have not yet been decided but sources say the phone could hit overseas markets later this month.
Since the phone hit the market on July 7, the number of new mobile subscribers has surged to some 24,000 a day, compared to the average 15,000 in recent weeks.
Even though telecom carriers do not reveal the standalone sales figure for Note FE, industry watchers believe most of the new customers are buying the latest Samsung phone considering there have been no new launches in recent weeks.
Especially Blue Onyx and Blue Coral, the two most popular colors, are fast selling out at some retail shops.
“The telecom market is getting revitalized thanks to the Note FE that is cheaper than premium phones but boasts high-end features,” said an official from a telecom company said.
The Note FE comes with a price tag of 699,600 won (US$608), about 20 percent cheaper than the original Note 7. It sports almost all the same components fitted in the original Note 7 except the battery, which has been reduced from 3,500 mAh to 3,200 mAh.
Software-wise, the Note FE has received a couple of upgrades, including Samsung’s first artificial intelligence assistant Bixby and the Android Nougat operating system used in the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.
Samsung said it would later decide whether it would sell the FE in other global markets, and some industry sources expect the global release of the phablet later this month.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 mobile processor is expected to be featured in the FE model for global markets.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)