Samsung unveils two new phablets, but why is the Galaxy Note 5 not coming to the UK?
Samsung has taken the wraps off two new high-end phablets, the largely identical Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Samsung Galaxy Note 5, in a bid to revive its faltering smartphone business, but only the former appears to be slated for a UK launch.
Both have 5.7-inch quad HD displays, 4GB of RAM, Cat 9 LTE and advanced video and multimedia features, including image stabilisation, 4K capture and live streaming, as well as advanced wired and wireless charging.
The smartphones can be charged with cable within 90 minutes and wirelessly within two hours. The design of both takes a leaf out of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge’s book, with metal and glass casing.
Where the two devices differ is that the S6 Edge+ has an edged screen and the Note 5 has more productivity options and the S Pen stylus. This allows users to access their favourite apps and communicate with key contacts simply by swiping the screen. The Note 5 has an upgraded stylus that allows for annotation and the ability to collect and clip images.
However while the S6 Edge+ was on display at an event in London, the Note 5 was absent. It was percent at an event in New York, where Samsung’s head of mobile and IT JK Shin expressed his hope the company could continue to lead the phablet market which it claims to have established with the first Galaxy Note back in 2011.
This is a sentiment shared by the rest of the company. Samsung posted disappointing sales for the first half of 2015 and said it would be adjusting the price of both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge in a bid to reach its targets. The Korean manufacturer is not alone in its struggles in a competitive smartphone market, with HTC, Microsoft and Motorola all reporting difficulties.
Samsung’s UK head admitted smartphone saturation was a reality but said the S6 range was desirable enough to buck the trend, with younger demographics seeing them as “cool” devices.
Note 5 in the UK
Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge start on 18 August and will be available to buy in the UK from 4 September in 32GB and 64GB varieties. It is unclear whether the Note 5 will get a UK release, with Samsung focusing on North America for now.
“The market availability of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 will vary according to consumer needs and the specific market situation,” a company spokesperson told TechWeekEurope. “The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 will be introduced in the US and Asian markets in August and we will look at further opportunities to launch the Galaxy Note 5 in other markets.
“With the launch of the original Galaxy Note series in 2011, we created a whole new smart device category that set a new industry standard, which all others have followed. For our European customers, Samsung’s portfolio will be centred on the Galaxy S6 edge+, so as to better cater to their needs.”
Why regional separation?
Analysts have speculated the regional separation could be to let Samsung’s marketing teams focus on just one device as it seeks to retain its top spot in the global smartphone market or because an accelerated release window means it simply cannot make enough devices in time.
“Now, under competitive pressure, Samsung is looking to launch its devices into the market before 2015’s new iPhone models again overshadow the market,” said Daniel Gleeson, analyst at HIS Technology. “With Samsung’s shipments coming under increasing pressure from not just Apple, but other Android brands as well, Samsung management looks to eke out any advantage possible.
“A more likely possibility is that the accelerated timetable and earlier announcement has prevented Samsung from having the required levels of stock for a simultaneous global launch for both handset models. If this is true, then it negates part of the benefit of announcing early.
“The Note 5 is an excellent device to market for “prosumers” and enterprise due to its stylus and keyboard attachment. The S6 Edge Plus is a much more fashion-forward device and is likely to appeal to a younger, hipper market than the Note 5.
“To maximise shipments, Samsung must aim to accelerate the launch of both models into all global markets. Otherwise, consumers with a preference for one or other of Samsung’s differentiated designs will simply defer their purchase, hurting Samsung’s business.”
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