[THE INVESTOR] Samsung is considering simplifying its flagship smartphone lineups by merging the Galaxy S Plus and Note smartphone series to reduce cost amid its falling profits in the smartphone business, according to news reports on July 20.
The streamlining has been under consideration for the past year at Samsung, and the firm’s vendors and partners have been notified of the possible reduction in the number of flagship smartphones the company rolls out each year.
Over the past years, the tech giant has launched the Galaxy S smartphone and its larger variant S Plus in the first half of the year while launching the Note model in the second half.
“Rumors that the two lineups will be merged have constantly surfaced, since the first quarter last year, before the launch of new flagships,” an industry source from one of Samsung’s parts suppliers was quoted by local news outlet The Bell as saying
The S Plus shares almost the same hardware and software specifications with the Note except for the latter’s signature feature, a stylus pen.
Aiming to capture consumers who prefer a larger screen and a digital pen, Samsung released its first Note model in 2011. Since then, other major smartphone makers, including Apple, have hopped on the bandwagon, launching larger screen phones.
The latest S9 Plus, launched in March, is fitted with a 6.22-inch screen, while the Note 8, launched in September last year, sports a 6.3-inch screen.
The upcoming S10 Plus, expected to be out in the market early next year, is likely to feature a 6.4-inch screen, larger than the upcoming Note 9’s screen, measuring at 6.38 inches.
Those who support the simplified lineups at Samsung say the plan could reduce costs. Profits have been on the decline in recent months. The estimated operating profit in the second quarter stands at 2.3 trillion won (US$2.03 billion), down by a whopping 40 percent from the previous quarter. The S9 and S9 Plus are said to have been underperforming in terms of sales.
Approximately, 19.2 million units of the S9 were shipped during the first six months, lower than the S8’s 21.2 million shipments during the same period last year.
Some market watchers forecast the anticipated launch of the company’s first foldable smartphone early next year will inevitably bring some change to the smartphone lineups in the coming years.
“Some change in the high-end lineups could take place, depending on the market response of the upcoming Note 9,” an industry source said.
The Korean tech giant will take the wraps off its ninth-generation Note in New York on Aug. 9.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)