Dubai: With two premium smartphones from the top smartphone players — Apple and Samsung — hitting the shelves, the market is set to face a brutal competition again in the phablet (5.5-inches and above) segment.
Samsung showcased its next-generation Note series — Galaxy Note 4 — and Gear S smartwatch in Dubai on Tuesday.
The 5.7-inch Quad HD (2560x1440) Super active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (Amoled) display Note 4, blended with an evolved S Pen and running on 1.9Ghz octa-core processor will be available for sale from October 17.
Pre-bookings start from Tuesday and it is priced at Dh2,799 while the two-inch curved Super Amoled S watch for Dh1,299.
The 4G LTE Note 4, running on 1.9Ghz octa-core processor, has 32GB internal storage capacity, 16MP rear camera and 3.7MP front camera. On top is the Gear S Watch
A built-in Voice Recorder offers eight different directional voice tagging and a selective playback capability that allows users to isolate and listen to specific voices in a group conversation.
The Gear S is essentially a wrist-mounted smartphone, which is not something new to the industry.
When asked how Samsung feels about Apple entering the phablet segment, Hayssam Yassine, head of telecommunications group at Samsung Gulf Electronics, said that Samsung’s policy is to make the best product available to consumers and the experience has approved with the Note series. Today all other manufactures are following “Samsung” with the phablet trend.
Samsung launched its first Note with 5.3-inch screen size in 2011.
“We led it and we are leading even now. For us, competition is healthy and it is a pride that everyone is following us,” he said.
Samsung has already lost its smartphone crown in India and China and is facing tremendous pressure in the sub $200 category.
“Pressure will be there when you are the market leader and everybody wants to attack you, that is normal. Our duty is to protect the premium and mid-range segments. I know it is a critical time for the industry. Our duty is to distinguish our products and add value to it and that is the strength of Samsung and it has proved it in the past,” he said.
Nabila Popal, research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), said there is room for growth in the phablet segment and we have seen it in the last year or so. Since Apple has entered the bigger screen size late, competition will be there as other vendors have already launched in that segment with bigger screen sizes.
However, as it grows, she said that Apple with its new and larger phones, will be there to capture that growth and give vendors that have previously succeeded in that segment without Apple, some tough competition.
“The phablet market is still immature as the industry is still so new. Since the handset market has changed a lot within one year, consumers will need some time to find the optimum size. I feel 5.5—5.7 inch screen size seems to be more comfortable and easier to adapt to than the larger six-inch plus size,” she said.
According to IDC, Samsung’s smartphone market share in the UAE fell from 45 per cent in second quarter of last year to 38 per cent in the second quarter of this year while Apple’s market share fell from 17 per cent to 14 per cent in the second quarter of this year.
Popal said that market share of 4.5-inch and greater screen size grew from 19 per cent in the first quarter of last year to 40 per cent in the second of this year.
“I personally feel that any Apple fans that moved to other manufacturers primarily for bigger screen sizes will revert to Apple,” Popal said.
Yassine said the premium S watch is the first watch with a 3G connection. It is half smartphone and a watch but it will work only with Samsung models with minimum 1.5GB of RAM and on Android 4.3 and above operating system.
At a glance: Gear S features
* Curved Super AMOLED display, with a 2-inch diagonal measurement and 360×480 resolution
* built-in 3G modem, allows the wearable to receive notification and messages
* Can make and receive calls without any smartphone involved
* Tizen-powered, like its Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Neo devices
* Has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, in addition to its cellular radio
* A mic for chatting as well as receiving voice commands
* Impressive hardware design
* With a Gear Circle headset (Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a vibration motor to provide silent notifications, and
Gear S Software
* HERE navigation provided by Nokia
* Spritz speed-reading
* GPS sensors, an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, UV detection, barometer and a heart rate monitor
* It packs 4GB of internal storage and
* IP67 dust and water resistance
* 300mAh battery (Samsung claims it will 2 days of usage under normal conditions).