SEOUL, March 1 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. is gearing up to unveiled its all new flagship smartphone at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, hoping to put the company back in the ring with arch-rival Apple Inc., corporate sources said Sunday.
The flagship, widely expected to be called the Galaxy 6, aims to lay the foundation for Samsung to recapture the No. 1 smartphone manufacturer title that it lost late last year following lackluster sales of its Galaxy S5 and strong sales of Apple’s first large-screen iPhone 6.
The launch is expected to take place at 2:30 a.m. on Monday (Korea time) at a dedicated “Unpacked” event.
Samsung is also hoping that the new smartphone may help it outpace Chinese upstarts, such as Xiaomi Tech and Huawei Technologies Co, which have made strides, particularly in the world’s second-largest economy.
The combination of Apple’s super popular iPhone and challenges by Xiaomi and Huawei caused Samsung to suffer an “earnings shock” last year.
Company sources said that the new Galaxy, which was called “Project Zero” in its development stage, emphasizes a completely new form factor with importance placed on the materials used to make the phone.
In the past, Samsung’s flagships have taken a beating for using “flimsy” plastic, but the company in more recent months has been churning out devices with metal frames, such as the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Alpha, or with all aluminum uni-body designs in the cases of the A3, A5 and A7.
Besides the build quality, Samsung said through official teasers that the new phone will have better internals in the form of a more powerful processor, memory capacity, camera and streamlined software, which will enhance the overall performance and user experience.
The new Galaxy, which could well come in the conventional flat and dual-curbed screen “Edge” variants, will have a Samsung Pay system pre-installed. The system based on LooPay technology allows users to use the phone like a credit card. Unlike Apple’s payment system that requires special terminals, the LooPay arrangement allows it to work with existing credit card readers.
Reflecting the importance placed on the new phone, top executives are to converge on Barcelona for the unpack event, with the company, intentionally downplaying other products it will announce at the mobile congress.
Samsung IT & Mobile Communications Division President Shin Jong-kyun is expected to hold a press conference the day after the unpacking to highlight the importance and changes made to the new smartphone.
Insiders even said that Samsung has opted not to showcase another smartwatch at the smartphone event, so as not to distract attention from the main star.