Samsung says pre-orders for Galaxy phone are exceeding expectations

New phone to help company compete with Apple in higer end of market

Suamsung’s Galaxy Note 8.

Suamsung’s Galaxy Note 8.

 

Samsung said pre-orders of its latest flagship smartphone Galaxy Note 8 were exceeding its expectations, as the South Korean company seeks to move beyond last year’s safety debacle and braces itself for the debut of the latest iPhone.

DJ Koh, president of Samsung’s mobile business, said the Note 8 phones had recorded the highest pre-orders among the Note series, which would help Samsung better compete with Apple in the high-end smartphone segment.

“The 395,000 units sold on the first day of pre-orders is a higher than expected figure,” he told a media event yesterday. “The figures for the first five days show that pre-orders are about 2.5 times those of the Note 7 last year.”

That is encouraging news for Samsung, which has worried that last year’s fiasco over fire-prone Note 7 phones would discourage consumers from buying the device’s successor. The Note 8 will go on sale on Friday in several countries, including the US and South Korea.

“The Note 8 can bring symbolic closure to the Note 7 debacle. The success of the [ Galaxy] S8 this year already showed that Samsung had gotten past the Note 7 incident, but a successful Note 8 product would just further drive the point home,” said Bryan Ma, analyst at IDC.

Mr Koh said Samsung had received positive feedback on the Note 8 following pre-orders from about 40 countries. “Since the August 23 New York unpack, many buyers and partners said the initial response was very encouraging,” he said. But Samsung added that the pre-order figures given by Mr Koh were for the domestic market only.

The Note 8, priced at $930-$960 in the US, will intensify competition for pricier components in the premium segment. Apple was set to reveal its much anticipated 10th anniversary iPhone late yesterday in the US - the first iPhone to cost as much as $1,000, and expected to offer significant upgrades to the smartphone’s display, camera and overall design.

The Note line accounts for less than 10 per cent of Samsung’s mobile shipments but the Korean company uses the model to test new cutting-edge features, according to Mr Ma. “The Note line is an early-adopter play where the company could introduce some new features before they make their way into the more significant S series later,” he said.

Kim Young-woo, analyst at SK Securities, expects Samsung to sell about 10m Note 8s this year, helping the smartphone maker maintain its mobile momentum in the fourth quarter.

– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017