Samsung beefs up Galaxy S22 series but kills off the Note
The trio of Galaxy S22 smartphones also sees the end of the Note family.
Samsung is making the biggest change to its smartphone strategy in years by reorganizing around its top-selling Galaxy S and foldable Galaxy Z series of devices while discontinuing its Note lineup of stylus-equipped phones and instead distributing that capability across its portfolio.
Slated for a March 4 release, the Android-powered Galaxy S22 (6.1in), Galaxy S22+ (6.6in) and Galaxy S22 Ultra (6.8in) phones have respective starting prices of $1249, $1549 and $1849.
The Ultra edition adds an integrated stylus, a more advanced chip and up to 1TB of on-board storage, matching the iPhone 13 Pro’s maximum storage spec.
With a large display and stylus capabilities, the S22 Ultra effectively recreates the classic Galaxy Note formula of a large-display handset with a stylus, while the Note line itself is discontinued, Samsung mobile chief TM Roh said in an interview.
“In the near term, our operation will focus on a two-track strategy: flagship S series in the first half of the year and innovative foldable lineup in the second half,” remarked Roh, who took over as Samsung’s mobile chief two years ago, in a rare interview.
“We will keep this strategy until there’s another major breakthrough and we are working hard to make it happen.”
As for the Note, Roh said “we’re integrating the most beloved Note features into more device categories, including the S Series, tablets, Z Fold, Galaxy Book and beyond. This enables everyone to get more from their mobile experience and marks the next chapter of the Note legacy.”
Samsung will focus on the premium segment as its growth engine and plans to expand the Note experience across its Galaxy hardware ecosystem, spanning tablets and laptops as well as phones, Roh said.
The new Galaxy phones each have several camera upgrades, including improvements to auto framing, video stability, night mode and high-dynamic range photography.
There’s also a new 50-megapixel wide camera on the S22 and S22+. These handsets mark the retail debut of Samsung’s Exynos 2200 processor, which includes AMD graphics and is built at a 4nm process, an improvement on the 5nm technology used in flagship smartphones today, including those from Apple.
Alongside the new devices, Samsung is touting a feature called Google Duo Live Sharing, which is similar to Apple’s recently introduced SharePlay and will let two Samsung device users watch video content together remotely.
The new phones also include an updated version of Samsung’s OneUI interface, which customizes the Android user experience.
Samsung also rolled out three new tablets: the Tab S8, S8+ and S8 Ultra in 11-inch, 12.4-inch and 14.6-inch screen sizes.
The S8 Ultra means Samsung now has one of the biggest tablets on the market. Apple’s largest iPad measures in at 12.9 inches, although the company is exploring larger models.
The new Tab devices have faster processors, improved front-facing cameras and more memory, while storage capacities – 128GB, 256GB and 512GB – remain the same.
Folding into the future
Foldables will also grow into new categories and the company plans to add one or two new smartphone form factors to its lineup within the next three years, he added
“Under the Covid situation, the smartphone industry raced through changes that might have previously taken a decade,” Roh said.
The pandemic drove the smartphone market out of its stagnancy – growth had plateaued and replacement cycles were growing longer – and Samsung now sees people more willing to upgrade their phones to get better video calls, gaming and daily communications functions as they rely on their devices for work and play.
Initial demand from carriers and partners for the Galaxy S22 phones is up by double-digit percentages relative to the prior year thanks to the new Ultra model, according to Roh.
“We are entering the second phase of market growth. There’s growing demand for high-end premium models as consumers are using smartphones longer and in more ways than before.”
The company bet on its foldables filling the void and saw the move pay off with its sales of the category growing several times over and raising its average selling price for mobile devices.
The tech giant also sees the growing number of foldable devices from competitors as confirmation that it made the right strategic decision early on, according to Roh.
Samsung is also investing in artificial intelligence and augmented reality technology, having pledged to secure a leading position in the development of the metaverse at its most recent earnings call. Roh declined to provide specifics on those projects, but said the company is spending aggressively.
“We may look like a graceful swan, but we’re paddling furiously underwater,” he laughed.
This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here
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