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Samsung’s Note 7 steals the thunder from Apple

business Updated: Aug 12, 2016 10:49 IST
Anirban Ghoshal
Anirban Ghoshal
Hindustan Times
Samsung Note 7

A man holds a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 during a launch event at the Hammerstein Ballroom, August 2, 2016 in New York City. (AP)

Korean smartphone-maker Samsung might have stolen the limelight with the launch of its new phablet -- Galaxy Note 7 -- just days ahead of Apple’s annual event which is speculated to be held between September 7 to 12.

“Samsung already has an advantage over Apple as consumers are no longer excited about Apple’s new iPhone 7 launch in September. People are only expecting incremental changes in Apple products this year rather than a complete overhaul in the smartphones space,” Tarun Pathak, senior analyst, Counterpoint Research, said adding that Samsung took the lead in sales with changing design aesthetics, camera and the stylus.

“Samsung performed way better with the S7 Edge than the normal flat S7 and this goes to show the success of its design,” Pathak said.

Samsung on Thursday launched the new Note 7 priced at Rs 59,990 along with two wearables -- Gear Fit 2 for Rs 13,990 and Gear IconX for Rs 13,490 -- and the new Oculus Gear VR which is 23 grams lighter than its predecessor. The Note 7 comes with an octa-core processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB memory expandable to 256 GB.

“The water and dust resistant design of Samsung along with its price of Rs 60,000 will help Samsung against Apple, which will be dependent on its huge install base globally to reap profits,” Patak explained adding that history shows that Apple products are steeply priced than any other in the market which might work as a deterrent.

According to a report from Strategy Analytics, Apple is loosing marketshare to Google in India as its pie dropped to 2.4 percent in the second quarter of 2016 as compared to 4.5 percent in the corresponding period last year. The report also showed that Apple’s iOS fell 35 percent annually and the company just shipped 0.8 million smartphones in India in Q2 2016 compared to 1.2 million during the same period last year.

“Apple’s smartphone marketshare has halved from 4 percent to just 2 percent in India during the past year. Apple iOS will need to reduce iPhone pricing to cheaper levels, attract more operator subsidies and enlarge its retail presence through Apple stores or online channels if it wants to regrow significantly in the future,” Woody Oh, director at Strategy Analytics, said.

In the September event, Apple is expected to launch a new iPhone, a new Macbook and two watches. Leaked images of Apple’s upcoming flagship smartphone have both models -- iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus -- featuring larger cameras, bigger batteries as compared to their predecessors -- iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Other changes includes the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack and inclusion of two speaker grills that suggests stereo sound output.

However, Faisal Kawoosa, telecom lead at Cybermedia Research thinks that Apple still stands a chance although he said that the price of the new Samsung Note 7 will add potential to the device in terms of sales. “iPhones have a niche and most iPhone users upgrade. However, the last iPhone didn’t do so well in emerging markets for who it was designed. This might be a red flag for the country if it is looking for growth,” Kawoosa explained.

Android currently dominates the India market with 97 percent market share followed by iOS at 2.4 percent. “Android dominates the India smartphone market and looks unbeatable right now, due to its deep portfolio of hardware partners, extensive distribution channels, and a wide range of low-cost apps like Gmail,” Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics, said.