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Samsung to release Galaxy S8 and refurbished Note 7

Half a year after its Note 7 was recalled for multiple battery explosions, Samsung has some better news.

The Korea-based company is preparing to unveil the new Galaxy S8 today. It has also announced plans to sell a “refurbished” model of the Note 7.

The return of Galaxy Note 7

Announced in the English blogpost, Samsung said they are considering using the devices as refurbished phones or rental phones where applicable. Currently, the company has collected 97% of its Note 7 smartphones, and issued a software code to block those that are still in circulation from being recharged. Customers were either offered refunds or a replacement phone.

“Applicability is dependent upon consultations with regulatory authorities and carriers as well as due consideration of local demand. The markets and release dates will be determined accordingly,” the statement read.

For leftover component recycling, salvageable components such as precious metal like copper, nickel, gold and silver will be detached for reuse in an environmental friendly way, the company said.

The arrival of Galaxy S8

On the other hand, Samsung’s 2017 flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8, will be officially announced today, and one of the biggest business as well as public relations challenge in the company’s history will begin.

As far as we can see, the company’s marketing effort has made little mention of its safety in a possible attempt to avoid media from picking up the narrative. Instead, the company is highlighting the innovations it would bring with the new flagship phone.

“Samsung is still the number one smartphone player worldwide, but the brand lost prestige and consumer trust with the debacle of the Galaxy Note 7,” Thomas Husson, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester told Marketing. “The company only has a window of opportunity of several months before the launch of the 10th anniversary iPhone.”

Husson said the company has set the bar quite high with its ambition to reinvent the smartphone category when teasing the 29th announcement at Mobile World Congress, which increased expectations on what it may announce. The launch of Samsung’s new flagship smartphone is thus key for the brand even though it has managed to reduce its business dependency on smartphones, contrary to Apple.

“The launch of the new device must be perfectly executed for Samsung to gain innovation leadership and to gain market share in the high-end smartphone segment,” he concluded.

The launch of the new device must be perfectly executed for Samsung to gain innovation leadership and to gain market share in the high-end smartphone segment.

According to Husson, Samsung can likely innovate with “a new bezel-less design, the removal of the traditional home button, an advanced curved screen, new sensors for fingerprinting and identity recognition, and of course top-of-the-line hardware specifications”.

It would also make sense to surf the virtual reality hype and to update its accessories – both the Samsung GR Gear headset and the Samsung Gear 360 camera.

Phil Pomford, general manager, APAC, Global eCom at Worldpay, said the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 could mark the tipping point in the adoption of biometric-based security. “We have already seen certain banks and card companies introduce ‘selfie’ authentication, but the integration of this technology into your mobile device will bring facial recognition to the mainstream for the first time,” he said.

Husson, however, added that the most difficult part for Samsung is whether it can truly integrate software to enable services that will be useful for consumers’ daily lives.

“For example, the new Bixby virtual assistant may drastically simplify the interface and make it easier to use the smartphone. However, to truly differentiate from Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant, it has to be more integrated with third party brands, beyond the few pre-installed apps.”

“We’ll see how Samsung leverages its acquisition of Viv over time, but I think the brand will struggle to compete in the longer term with the broader digital ecosystems from Google, Amazon or Apple. Samsung will have to work much more closely with third-party brands and developers to differentiate Bixby from other virtual assistants,” he explained.

Samsung will have to work much more closely with third-party brands and developers to differentiate Bixby from other virtual assistants.

The flagship phone will be announced today at on pre-order from April 7 or 10, and land in stores on April 21.

Rumours have it that the phone will sell for US$850, which is roughly HK$6,630, according to TechRadar.

 

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