Designed from scratch, the new Samsung flagship and its curved-edges variant are critical for the company’s plans to reverse plunging smartphone revenues that led to its first annual earnings fall in three years in 2014.
According to some experts familiar with the matter, the Cupertino based tech giant surpassed its Korean rival as the world’s biggest smartphone maker last year, selling a record 74.5 million iPhones in the December quarter on the back of the success of its big-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
To compare, Galaxy S5 was outsold in its second full month of global sales by Apple’s older iPhone 5S, claims researcher Counterpoint.
The Korean company begins its fight-back on April 10 when the revamped Galaxy phones, unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday, hit the market in one of the most important product launches in the company’s history.
“We listen to our customers and we learn from our missteps,” J.K. Shin, Samsung’s president and chief executive told a packed hall in Barcelona’s convention center. “I may not be the best public speaker. That is because my first language is engineering,” he added.
Samsung hasn’t disclosed pricetags of the just released devices or where they will appear first but revealed on Sunday that the phone will go on sale in 20 countries.
The list of notable features includes casing made from light-weight metal used in airplanes, a step up from the plastic that disappointed many critics of the S5, and Corning Inc’s Gorilla Glass on both front and back.
The Galaxy S6 upgrades the previous version’s camera and screen, and strips out many of Samsung’s unpopular in-house software apps that infuriated users by gobbling memory. It and the Galaxy S6 Edge will also be powered by Samsung’s new 64-bit, 14-nanometer Exynos processors, analysts said.
“This offers the promise of delivering better overall margins for Samsung and, in time, differentiated performance from rivals, as Apple has achieved” with their own chip used in iPhones, said Ian Fogg, an analyst at IHS Technology.
“But it’s a high-risk, high-reward strategy,” he added.
“The new phones pack in most of the features of the Galaxy S5, such as a dedicated heart rate monitor on the back and an infra-red blaster so you can use your phone as a sophisticated TV remote. This is handy if you’ve dropped the original behind the settee cushions but not everyone will feel this is a feature they need,” Independent reports.
“With sales falling and profits going down along with them, Samsung needed to do something much bigger and better this year than it did with the S5 last year. For most intents and purposes, the S6 and S6 Edge are just that: they are dramatically nicer and better phones than Samsung has ever produced. But it’s hard not to say that this is the phone the S5 should have been a year ago, and Samsung is still going to be playing catch up with Apple,” concluded The Verge.