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Chung Lyong Lee, President, Samsung Gulf Electronics sharing the details of the new models of Galaxy S20 series and Galaxy Z Flip at the regional launch in Dubai on 03 March 2020. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: When Samsung launched on Monday two of its latest smartphones in Dubai, it made clear exactly what the main focus for phone manufacturers now is: improved cameras and cooler designs.

In fact, for its new Galaxy S20 series, Samsung believes the phones’ unique selling point is their camera. The S20 phones have three rear cameras powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), and what Samsung is calling its “biggest image sensor yet.” The company said that the biggest advance with the new series is in fact with its camera.

The cameras on this series have improved zoom capabilities, higher resolution, and can capture a number of photos and videos in one click to offer focus, cropped, and ultra wide shots. Its AI will also recommend the best shot of those.

And it seems people are indeed willing to pay good money for quality cameras on their phones, because the prices go up to Dh5,299.

The Galaxy S20 series includes different models: S20 (Dh3,199), S20+ (Dh3,599), S20+ with 5G (Dh3,799), and the S20 Ultra with 5G (Dh4,499). Each model has 128GB of memory space, but the S20+ 5G has a version with 512GB of space, at Dh4,299, while the S20 Ultra has a version with the same larger space, at Dh5,299.

At a launch event, spokespeople from Samsung said the S20 Ultra model was designed with professional photographers in mind, and its 108MP camera can capture details that the naked eye can’t see. The model also has added storage space, because “deleting pictures (to re-gain space) is so 2019,” as Samsung put it.

The S20 series was launched in early February at an event in San Francisco, and will be available for purchase in the UAE from March 6. (Pre-orders have already started.) They come in cosmic grey, cloud blue, cloud pink, and cosmic black colours.

And it’s not just the increased interest in photography and taking the best pictures for your Instagram that is driving demand for better cameras. Samsung believes that with higher penetration of 5G connectivity, manufacturers will need to up their game as users stream more and more content.

The company said that it believes 2020 will be the break-out year for 5G, and that in 2025, 65 per cent of the world population will have access to 5G.

The manufacturer’s other focus at the moment is on design, with the launch of the Galaxy Z Flip. The foldable phone is priced at Dh5,499, and is aimed at millennials and generation Z.

The phone features a bendable ultra-thin glass and a new hinge that has nylon fibers to repel dirt and dust. Unfolded, it has a 6.7-inch display screen. The Z Flip launched earlier in the UAE and sold out almost right away.

Foldable phones, be it from Samsung or other manufacturers such as Huawei, Motorola, and Xiaomi, saw plenty of challenges in 2019, including delays in launch, manufacturing issues, and screen defects. Critics pointed that foldable phones may not be as durable as other smartphones and that their glass is too thin and too easily scratched.

“If you look to the endurance test, you can open the Galaxy Z Flip 200,000 times [or more], which means five years of opening and closing. For a foldable device, 200,000 times shows endurance,” said Osman Albora, head of mobile division at Samsung Gulf Electronics.

“Plus, we brought in an improved hinge…so these are making the product stronger and more robust, and still delivering great features in terms of technology,” he told Gulf News, adding that the screen will also prove durable.

Coronavirus has no ‘imminent impact on supply’ Samsung says

Dubai: South Korean manufacturer Samsung said it does not see a “direct imminent impact on supply” of its products for the time being, amid an outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

South Korea has reported the largest outbreak of the virus of any country outside China, with over 3,700 people now battling the virus, and 21 people having died of it already. Samsung Electronics has even had to temporarily shut one of its mobile device factories in the country after an employee tested positive for the virus, according to media reports.

The company said it is taking “all necessary measures” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday, Osman Albora, head of mobile division at Samsung Gulf Electronics, told Gulf News that so far, everything is under control at Samsung.

“We acknowledge that it (coronavirus) is a growing concern globally. What I can share is we are doing our best to minimize the impact to our operations as Samsung, globally and here as well,” he said at a launch event in Dubai.

“We will see how it will unfold. In the pre-order [of our latest phones] we had a stock issue but we were able to respond in an agile way and re-stock. So far, we are able to continue operating in the same way as before.”

In the UAE, Samsung had to re-stock its latest Galaxy Z Flip smartphone after the model sold out in pre-orders and then immediately upon launch.

“So far from our pre-orders, our S20 pre orders are 15 per cent higher than pre-orders for the S10, which means there is still good demand,” Albora said. “When we look at our numbers, everything seems to be under control so far.”