Pricing of the 3 handsets under the Galaxy S23 range between Dh3,199-Dh6,499. Samsung has doubled down on the features. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The first of 2023’s flagship smartphones have landed in the UAE, with Samsung packing in more features – as always check out those cameras for confirmation - and upgrades into the Galaxy S23 than is thought possible. Or feasible.

And doing all that within a price range of Dh3,199-Dh6,449, as Samsung moves in early to try and capture new converts to its version of the smartphone universe over and beyond the die-hard user base. Because this is going to be a year when leading smartphone vendors will go for broke in winning market share, given that the premium end of the market is more likely to ride out inflation price pricks or recession woes.

Doohee Lee, the President of Samsung Gulf Electronics, sure reckons this is the category that will ride out all such external storms. And with the Galaxy S23 in place at UAE storefronts, Lee wants to be the one to throw down the marker as the race for the 2023 smartphone stakes begins.

UAE retail sources say it was kind of quiet for smartphone demand in the final weeks or 2022, early days of 2023. Is demand picking up again for the high-end models in the GCC region?

According to a report by IDC, the GCC smartphone market is forecast to grow 13.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter in Q1-2023. And there are expectations that supply issues will see some resolution.

During times of a global recession, consumers are more critical of their purchase decisions and invest in quality and value above all else. The demand for premium products that last longer is expected to continue increasing, as consumers prioritize purchases from brands they trust to be reliable and ready for the future.

Despite the challenging economic circumstances all over the world, we expect the premium segment to be less impacted than the overall smartphone market.

We created the Galaxy S series to redefine what’s possible in a premium smartphone. Building on that, the Galaxy S23 series has the power of our most advanced mobile technology. More than just a smartphone, Galaxy S23 series is a new way to ‘share the epic’.

Will the new battles be about converting wins from those smartphone users who are not in any particular ‘camp’?

We are empowering our customers with unique experiences using transformative technologies and that’s what you will see in our new Galaxy S23 Series. The new line-up has something for everyone — whether you’re a pro-grade photographer, content creator or just want to share the epic moments in life.

That’s why it makes for a perfect first-time choice or an existing smartphone upgrade. It combines Samsung Galaxy-exclusive performance, standard-setting camera quality and future-looking sustainability in one premium experience. So people don’t have to choose one over the other.

While we’ve witnessed strong year-over-year growth in foldable smartphones, the majority form factor is still a bar-type smartphone. Our forecast for the Galaxy S23 series is an aggressive double-digit growth throughout the year. Among them, we expect more than half of sales (units) to come from Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Are you seeing an increase in pre-order demand for S23 at the retail level?

Despite macroeconomic conditions, we're confident the strength and resilience of the premium categories across our MX business will drive our revenue growth.

Our 2022 MX business performance was bolstered by strong sales of our premium smartphones, including sustained performance from the Galaxy S22 series and best-ever foldables sales.

And paired with our premium devices, there's an incredible market opportunity to drive additional growth with our attached devices in the Galaxy ecosystem.

Yes, we have seen a fantastic response for the Galaxy S23 Series so far based on our pre-order phase. The feedback about the new hardware and software upgrades has been positive and reinstates our direction.

We are looking forward to a successful run in our region.

When does Samsung plan to launch the fold and flip phones this year?

We always keep a pulse on what consumers want and need most, and we are committed to making the best products that reflect those shifting demands. While we cannot specifically comment on any unreleased product, you’ll definitely hear from us as and when we have updates.