The success of Samsung Electronics' latest Galaxy phone, to be launched in New York on Thursday, could hinge on a supply backup plan to prevent a repeat of a costly snag for its premium smartphone last year.
Some analysts predict the Galaxy S IV could top 10 million unit sales in
the first month after launch, so hiccups in the delivery of core parts may be disastrous.
The risks are high. A simple manufacturing snafu involving unsatisfactory design of handset cases cost Samsung 2 million units in sales in just a month after it launched the S III in May last year.
After pre-empting its launch with a marketing blitz for the new Galaxy phone, Samsung also risks an overhype of its new phone, analysts warn. They say consumers may be disappointed if it has incremental improvements rather than the dazzling features they've come to expect.
Samsung picked the US for the launch of its top-selling Galaxy series, hoping to regain its lead. Apple outsold Samsung there for the first time in the quarter ending in December, even after Samsung spent a record $400 million on phone advertisements there last year.
Stakes are high for Samsung, which gets most of its profits from the product, as growth in the global smartphone market tapers.
JK Shin, head of Samsung's mobile business and a newly elected board member, will skip his first shareholders meeting on Friday in Seoul for the US launch.