Samsung is possibly giving a twist to the Galaxy S9 by making a variant exclusively for the Chinese market. A report from the Korean Herald – citing a Samsung official – suggests that the South Korean firm is looking to release another variant of the Galaxy S series. There is no confirmation if the company is developing a mid-range Galaxy S9 or a mid-range version of another high-end device.
“While the latest Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will be targeting the premium segment of the Chinese market, the upcoming variant model will be targeting the mid-tier market,” the official told Korean Herald. So, it can be assumed that the company is planning a mid-range Galaxy S9 for China.
Previously, SamMobile talked of a Geekbench entry for a Samsung handset bearing the model number SM-G8750. At that time, SamMobile speculated it to be a mini version of the Galaxy S9. It must be noted that Samsung hasn’t come up with a mini model for the past three years. While Samsung S3, S4 and S5 had a mini version, S6, S7 and S8 didn’t. Therefore, if a Galaxy S9 mini is indeed in the making, it could mean the rebirth of the mini-series.
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On the other hand, many believe it to be a mid-range version of the S8. Several reports suggest that a Samsung device has been certified in China under the name of “Dream Lite,” similar to Galaxy S8’s codename “Dream.”
Even a Samsung official on Sunday said, “We are considering the release of a Chinese-exclusive Galaxy S8 variant. The decision and the release date have yet to be confirmed.” So, there are good chances that it would be a mid-range Galaxy S8, according to Korea Bizwire.
Whatever device it may be – a mid-range Galaxy S9 or S8 – we will know soon. Since the mysterious device has already won certification from the Chinese authority TENNA, it can be assumed to be released soon.
Also, a less expensive variant from Samsung for China does not come as a surprise. Experts believe that Samsung is keen to expand its presence in China by offering a lower-cost alternative. By launching a mini version, the Korean firm will be able to retain its premium image and at the same time, offer a device at an affordable price to boost sales in China, where the market share has dropped below 1% recently.
According to the research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung’s smartphone market share in the fourth-quarter last year was just 0.8%, compared to 3.1% in the first-quarter of 2017. Much of Samsung’s plight can be attributed to homegrown companies such as Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei. Not just in China, but these players are making things difficult for Samsung even in other Asian markets.
All three brands collectively shipped a total of 29.8 million smartphones across the emerging markets of Southeast Asia last year, taking away 29.6% of the market share, according to the data research firm IDC. Samsung, on the other hand, shipped 29.3 million smartphones in the region last year. The emerging markets tracked by IDC include Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Over the past few years, Chinese Android smartphone makers have expanded aggressively overseas following sluggish sales growth in China. Smartphone sales in China dropped 4.9% last year, the first slow-down in eight years, according to IDC.
Separately, Samsung is also planning on a cheaper variant of the Galaxy S8 in the U.K. The mid-range Galaxy S8 – referred to as Galaxy A8 – was announced last December. Now, the company has partnered with Vodafone in the U.K. to launch the new device “soon.” The handset features a 5.6-inch Full HD Super AMOLED Infinity display, fast Octa-core processor, and decent 3,000 mAh battery with speed charging. The smartphone would have curved glass and a metal finish, which according to Samsung would give a better grip.
The camera is also pretty impressive with a 16-megapixel rear camera and a dual-lens front-facing snapper. Further, the advanced Live Focus feature allows users to adjust the blur bokeh effect before and after taking the picture. The handset comes with IP68 water and dust resistance, and supports micro SD cards, which can be upgraded to 256 GB.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., a seller on eBay is offering a dual-SIM variant of the Galaxy S9 smartphone for $660. Since it’s the global version of the handset, it is powered by the Exynos chipset instead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC that usually powers the Samsung handsets in the U.S. The various shades available are black, gray, blue and purple, but as of now, only the black model is in stock.