On February 20, Samsung will launch the latest version of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10, to the world. You can count that the price will move north in the spirit of making more money per unit sold. Yet, despite the hype around Galaxy S10, the future of Samsung mobile device business will be anchored on another phone which is not getting a lot of press attention because it is not a fashionista. The new lower-priced Galaxy M is the device that will position Samsung to compete as the service era begins to take effect for mobile device makers.
Samsung will launch its new lower-priced Galaxy M series in India before the smartphones roll out globally. Asim Warsi, senior vice president of Samsung India’s smartphone business, told Reuters that three devices will be available through its website and Amazon India at the end of January and are intended to help the company double online sales.
Samsung is currently trying to recover its lead in India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market behind China, after losing it to Xiaomi at the end of 2017, when Xiaomi’s sales in India overtook Samsung for the first time, according to data from both Canalys and Counterpoint.
Largely, in a world which is largely on transition into the post-smartphone era, except some regions like Africa, devices have become better on quality despite their prices. When that happens, customers are no more necessarily moved by brand logos because any device can get the job done. The implication is that devices become commoditized.
Think about it: two decades ago, people bought laptops focusing on the brands. But over time, laptops have become very reliable across the board that undue attachments to the specific brand have faded. In other words, laptops have become commoditized as buyers simply look for value over paying for brand logos. You want a decent laptop, not specifically a Dell or HP laptop!
This design of minimizing the impact of brand is coming to smartphone. Galaxy M offers Samsung that opportunity to ride that global competitive smartphone market over the fashionista Galaxy S10. In a post-smartphone era, device makers would move into services. Interestingly, succeeding on services demands volume. So, what Samsung needs is to have many people in its ecosystem to win on Bixby and not extra dollars on hardware via Galaxy S10. Samsung Pay will appreciate that strategic redesign as it needs more users to have competitive relevance in a world where everyone is doing an element of fintech.