SEOUL, July 13 (Korea Bizwire) — Samsung Electronics is poised to stage another battle with archrival Apple to grab a bigger share of the global smartphone market by releasing devices with wider screens at an international trade show in September, market watchers said Monday.
While Samsung has yet to announce the detailed schedule of its next phablet lineup, a cross between a smartphone and tablet PC, the South Korean tech giant is widely expected to showcase the model, presumably the Galaxy Note 5, at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) Berlin in September as it did for its predecessors.
Some watchers also expect Samsung to seek to release a phablet model with a display that curves on both ends like the Galaxy S6 Edge, as the quirky model bought higher-than-expected attention and demand from the global market.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office said Samsung won a trademark for the “S6 EDGE+” earlier this month, lending weight to such an outlook.
Industry watchers expect the Galaxy Note 5 may come with a 5.9-inch display, which is larger than its predecessor which came with a 5.7-inch screen. Others, however, predict that Samsung may choose not to do so as the bigger size will make the model no different from tablet PCs.
With the S pen also being one of the key features of Samsung’s phablets, industry watchers also expect the Galaxy Note 5 will allow users to detach the pen through voice or gestures. The tech giant has also won a trademark for that technology.
Samsung’s expected rollout of the new smartphones comes as the company has been suffering from ailing returns in its handset business.
Apple is also expected to showcase the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus after IFA, industry watchers said, heralding a fierce two-way battle to take the lion’s share of the lucrative high-end smartphone market.
The fresh Apple models are expected to come with the same outlook as the existing iPhone 6 lineups, but with improved features.
The U.S. giant has adopted a fingerprint screening feature for the iPhone 5S that did not exist in the iPhone 5.
One of the anticipated new features is “ForceTouch,” which has already been applied to the Apple Watch released in April. The feature allows users to activate applications or settings by pressing the display rather than swiping it.
As the so-called “Bendgate” dispute weighs down on the iPhone 6 Plus amid complaints from users, who said the device bends relatively easily, the iPhone 6S lineup is also expected to come with a stronger frame.
Samsung’s smaller South Korean rival LG Electronics Inc., meanwhile, said it is currently developing what it calls a “super premium phone” that will be introduced around October. The large-sized smartphone will be equipped with high-end features that will set its cost around 1 million won (US$885), industry watchers said.
Samsung is estimated to have taken up 24.1 percent of the world’s smartphone shipments in the first quarter, trailed by Apple with 17.7 percent, according to recent data compiled by Strategy Analytics. The two players had tied by selling 74.5 million units, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2014.
But Samsung’s handset business still has been posting weak profitability as competition from Chinese rivals armed with price competitiveness escalates and Apple eats into its high-end smartphone sales.
In an earnings guidance last week, Samsung said it posted 6.9 trillion won in operating profit in the April-June quarter, down 4.03 percent from the 7.19 trillion won posted a year earlier. The final second-quarter earnings report is due out later this month.