- Samsung debuted its Galaxy S10 lineup of smartphones that includes a 5G model, according to an announcement. The line features AI camera upgrades, wireless charging, Bixby routines and a headphone jack. The S10e, S10 and S10+ range in price from $750 to $1,000, while the S10 5G doesn't have a price yet.
- Samsung's new One UI operating system runs on Android 9.0 and makes its phones easier to use with quicker interactions and access to content, per PC World. The Bixby voice-enabled assistant has Bixby Routines that let users run a sequence of apps and functions with a single verbal command, per Engadget. The Wireless PowerShare feature lets people charge each other's Qi-compatible phones when an outlet isn't available.
- Pre-orders for S10e, Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ start today and will ship on March 8. The Bixby-powered Galaxy Home smart speaker will go on sale in April, although its price hasn't been announced, according to CNet.
For mobile marketers, Samsung's new line of smartphones won't be a real game-changer until 5G networks provide much faster service starting later this year. Samsung will have an S10 5G smartphone ready to ship, and the improved download speeds will make video ads less of a drag on mobile performance, increasing the likelihood that viewers will see them. 5G also promises to revolutionize the world economy with support for augmented and virtual reality applications, driverless cars, drone fleets and wearable tech. Mobile users are ready for the rollout of next-generation 5G mobile service, with 87% saying they plan to upgrade their phones to a 5G-enabled device, according to a survey by Matrixx Software.
Samsung has been the world’s biggest maker of smartphones since 2011, when the first line of Galaxy S models was released, and its latest products indicate that the South Korean electronics giant is looking ahead to more integration among its full range of devices and appliances. Like Apple, Samsung has suffered from a shrinking market for smartphones and growing competition from Chinese makers of lower-cost handsets. Samsung's mobile division reported a 38% drop in operating profits on an 11% decline in sales in Q4 2018 from a year earlier. Smartphone shipments fell an estimated 4.1% to 1.4 billion in 2018, the "worst year ever" for the market, researcher International Data Corporation (IDC) said last month.
Apple and Samsung's strategy of selling smartphones for $1,000 or more didn't work last year. Samsung’s Galaxy S10e model for $750 matches the price of Apple’s iPhone SE and has fewer features. At an even high price point, the Galaxy Fold is for early adopters who are willing to fork out almost $2,000 for a smartphone that unfolds into a tablet. Samsung fans may just stick with the Galaxy Note 9, which includes a stylus and has many S10+ features for $200 less, per Android Central. Cost considerations may mean that many smartphone consumers hold onto their phones for longer, a key impediment to sales growth last year.
Apple won't release a 5G iPhone until 2020, allowing Samsung to beat them to market with the S10 5G. However, unlike Apple, Samsung has yet to grow a services business that can charge users ongoing fees for content. Apple's services business — which includes the App Store, Apple Pay, Apple Music, iTunes and iCloud storage — grew 19% to $10.88 billion in the final quarter of last year, putting the company on track to reach its of annual goal of $50 billion by 2020.
Likewise, Samsung will be a late-comer to the smart speaker market with its Galaxy Home speaker that was first announced in August as Samsung introduced an update to its Bixby voice assistant. Amazon has a 70% share of the U.S. smart-speaker market, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Google Home trails with 24% of the installed base while Apple's HomePod is a distant third with only 6% of the market. About 66 million smart speakers have been sold in the United States.