How do you take sales away from a dominant company like Apple? One way might be to beat Apple’s signature product to market with one of your own. That seems to be the thinking by Samsung as it prepares to launch its new Galaxy Note 4 "phablet" ahead of schedule in China and South Korea this week.
With early sales success by Apple with its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung has responded by getting its new product out in the two vast Asian markets at the earliest possible date.
Apple is still awaiting permission from Chinese regulators to sell in that country. That delay gives Samsung a chance to get a leg up by releasing its new product to the largest smartphone market in the world.
According to mobile marketing firm MobiBanking, China has more than 1 billion mobile subscriptions. The Korea Times reported that sources within Samsung say the company’s goal is to ship 15 million Note 4 devices within the first 30 days of availability.
Apple is reporting record-breaking sales of its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Samsung's Note 4 sales launch follows Apple boasting earlier this week that it had sold 10 million of its newest iPhones over the first weekend they were available. Apple did not provide sales figures for each device, but said it could have sold more if it had more to sell.
Samsung’s new phone was initially set for an October release, but will now hit shelves in China and South Korea later this week. The release date in other countries remains set at Oct. 10, with pre-orders available this Friday.
When we reached Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Utah-based Jackdaw Research, he said pushing up the release date was a smart move for Samsung.
"It makes perfect sense for Apple’s major competitors to take advantage of the delay in China in particular," Dawson told us, "but also to try to get ahead of it in other markets where the iPhone isn’t available yet."
The Galaxy Note 4 has a 5.7-inch HD screen. That’s the same size as Apple's iPhone 6 Plus, the largest iPhone so far.
Lots of Competition
Apple isn't the only big threat to Samsung in Asia. It must also compete with Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi, which make inexpensive smartphone alternatives.
Samsung recorded a 25 percent drop in profits earlier this year. Speaking at the launch of the phone in Seoul, Samsung's head of sales and marketing, Lee Don-Joo, acknowledged the rough times the company’s endured, but said the Galaxy Note 4 could turn things around.
Samsung hasn't revealed the price Chinese and Korean consumers will pay for the Note 4, but the device’s recommended retail price is the equivalent of $921 in those markets.
"(Samsung) won’t capture enormous numbers of customers this way -- if you really want an iPhone, you’ll wait," Dawson said. "But they may well capture people who are keen to upgrade their phone today and can’t wait."
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Posted: 2014-10-01 @ 3:55pm PT
Samsung's new phone is outstanding. Sales of 15 million in 30 days for a single model of its many models is a great result, far outstripping the iPhone for any given model. The iPhone 6 is two models and sales are unlikely to reach 15 million combined in the first 30 days of availability. Samsung will remain a formidable competitor.