Samsung’s upcoming pair of flagship smartphones are distinguished by their form factors. The Galaxy S6 edge is almost identical to the US$650 Galaxy S6, but, for an additional $100, users get a display that spills over its sides, allowing notifications to appear along its marquee-like edges, without rousing the handset’s display in full.
Reviews of the S6 and S6 edge have been warm all around, holding true to a trend that’s been going on for several Galaxy releases.
It’s the best Android Phone available today and likely will rank as the No. 1 smartphone in many people’s opinions, according to Business Insider’s Steve Kovach.
The S6 and S6 edge offer stunning design, flawless camera experiences and superb day-to-day performance — and the wraparound display on the S6 edge is beautiful, according to Engadget’s Chris Velazco.
However, both versions of the smartphone lose points for battery life, the absence of a microSD slot, lack of a removable battery, and susceptibility to water, he said. Those last three elements were cut in the transition from the S5 to the S6 models.
No More Assassins
To compare the Samsung S6 line to Apple’s iPhone 6 line is fair, but gone are the days when any particular device could be thought of as a killer product, remarked Tuong Huy Nguyen, principal research analyst for consumer tech and markets at Gartner.
“I think when you look what the market is today, it’s not so much about a single product being better than another single product,” he told TechNewsWorld. I think it has to be a bit more encompassing of the broader ecosystem.”
The “ecosystem” goes beyond the apps or services people often associate with the word, Nguyen said. It’s the ability of any device to integrate with all the other hardware and software in a consumer’s digital life.
That’s what commands brand loyalty, he noted.
The Big Squeeze
Samsung’s profit margins have been falling, even as Apple’s have been as strong as ever.
Apple nearly tied Samsung’s number of units shipped in the fourth quarter, according to IDC Research. Apple doubled its sales in BRIC (Brazil Russia India China) and saw about a 44 percent increase in the U.S.
The brand loyalty Apple’s ecosystem creates can be seen on the ground in most places, noted Andy Abramson, CEO of Comunicano.
Samsung undoubtedly offers attractive features, but Apple has been growing a community of users, and that tactic is continuing to pay off, he told TechNewsWorld.
“All one has to do is look around at how the older segment in society — seniors and those over 50 who are still working — are embracing the iPhone,” Abramson suggested. “Every day, I hear from people who were using Android devices that they are switching or have switched to an iPhone.”
Samsung is being squeezed in every tier of the market, and it has been feeling it from Apple at the high end, HTC and LG in the mid range, and disrupters like Xiaomi on the low end, Gartner’s Nguyen pointed out. That assault has been wearing on Samsung.
The company will be facing even tougher times if the Galaxy S6 series doesn’t meet expectations, said David F. Giannetto, a consultant, and author and speaker.
“Will it be possible for them to revitalize a brand that isn’t that old in consumer’s minds to begin with? Probably not,” he told TechNewsWorld. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung isn’t a major player in the smartphone market just five years from now.”