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August 13, 2015
Smartphone market leader Samsung has refreshed its phablet range, with a supersized version of the Edge, while Chinese rival Xiaomi has matched it with the launch of the Redmi Note 2.
The 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ seems to largely be a bigger version of the 5.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S6 edge launched earlier this year. While it would be easy to dismiss it as an incremental tweak, this launch has a fair bit of strategic significance attached to it.
Samsung’s global smartphone market share is in fairly dramatic decline and two of the main reason for this are Apple’s strength and its own underestimation of demand for the edge, which led to insufficient supply. The launch of a new edge product is designed to service that surprise demand, while use of the ‘+’ to denote a larger version is clearly influenced by the Apple iPhone 6+.
“At Samsung, we’re committed to offering our customers a best in class technology experience, providing the ultimate on-the-go immersive multimedia viewing experience,” said Andy Griffiths, President of Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland. “The launch of the Galaxy S6 edge+ delivers on this promise. Combining the world’s first dual edge display with a range of intuitive features and an incredibly vivid, large screen, we’re re-emphasising our ongoing commitment to bold, fearless innovation that meets the needs of today’s consumers.”
The same London event saw the launch of Samsung Pay, although UK availability has yet to be revealed. It will have fingerprint verification, digital tokenisation and use both NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) to make payments. While this too seems to be a response to an Apple launch, it remains to be seen whether users will trust a mobile payment technology not supported by the platform.
Incidentally Xiaomi has also picked today to launch a phablet: the Redmi Note 2, which has a 5.5-inch screen and can be bought for as little as $125. Samsung didn’t announce pricing for the edge+ but it will probably cost over four times as much when it hits UK shelves on 4 September.
As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno
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