Last year, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released the iPhone X to mark the 10th anniversary of the device. It followed that up this year with a three flagship release strategy: the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR. In 2019, Samsung is coming up on the 10th anniversary of its flagship Galaxy smartphone series. According to reports, the company is planning to outdo AAPL by launching an all out assault with five new Galaxy flagship smartphones in early 2019, including a monster code-named “Beyond X.”
If the strategy sounds a little desperate, there’s a reason. While Apple’s iPhone sales are stalled, Samsungs are in free fall, dropping double digits in the past quarter.
Report: Samsung Has 5 New Galaxy Smartphones in the Pipeline, Including “Beyond X”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple’s main rival in the flagship smartphone game is planning a blitz of releases early in 2019. For anyone hoping that the slide in iPhone orders that’s hammered Apple stock in recent weeks will end any time soon, this isn’t great news.
According to the report, the onslaught will begin with the Galaxy S10. The Wall Street Journal’s sources say Samsung is going with three sizes for its 10th anniversary flagship edition, ranging from 5.8-inches to 6.4-inches. These new Galaxy smartphones would launch in February. Next up would be a spring release for a massive new Galaxy smartphone code-named “Beyond X.”
It’s packed with cameras: two in the front and four across the back. The display is 6.7-inches. And it supports the new 5G wireless standard — which is just starting to roll out in major U.S. cities. This “Beyond X” would be equipped to eclipse the dual primary camera setup of Apple’s iPhones. The front camera array is expected take on the wide angle selfie capabilities Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google introduced in the Pixel 3. In addition, 5G capability would give “Beyond X” serious bragging rights over Apple’s current and 2019 iPhone lineup. AAPL isn’t expected to be in a position to support the faster wireless standard until 2020.
Next up would be the foldable smartphone featuring the Infinity Flex display. This one’s no rumor, Samsung showed it off on stage earlier this month and confirmed it is going into production.
Three new Galaxy S10 variants, “Beyond X” and the folding smartphone. That’s five new flagship smartphones expected from Samsung to kick off 2019.
That doesn’t include the 2019 edition of the company’s Galaxy Note phablet, which traditionally doesn’t launch until the fall. With the Galaxy Note 10 in the mix, that would make for a total of six new Galaxy flagship smartphones in one year.
Samsung Is Struggling
While Apple is having a hard time maintaining iPhone sales, Samsung is in even bigger trouble.
Samsung too has to deal with a global smartphone market that’s growing saturated. Like Apple, it has to fight to maintain growth when the total number of smartphones sold worldwide is shrinking. According to IDC, overall smartphone sales shrank 6% year-over-year in Q3 2018.
But AAPL has a certain degree of protection from competitors stealing its customers because of iOS. Moving from an iOS-powered iPhone to an Android device is a big hassle, carries a learning curve and can also have a financial penalty if apps have to be re-purchased for the new platform.
Samsung on the other hand is competing against every other Android smartphone maker from Google to surging Chinese manufacturers like Huawei. There is virtually no friction in moving from a Galaxy smartphone to a Google Pixel or Huawei P20 Pro. Samsung is still the world’s biggest smartphone seller but in Q3 it sold 11.1 million fewer units than last year, for a 13.4% drop.
Apple’s strategy for making up for slowing smartphone sales has been to broaden its iPhone lineup, jack up prices and stop reporting unit sales. We won’t know Samsung’s pricing approach until next year, although it seems to be a safe bet that it will follow Apple’s lead there. However, the company’s primary strategy seems to be going with a blitz of new flagship smartphones in the hope of appealing to everyone. Whether one of the new Galaxy S10 versions, the folding phone or the monster “Beyond X” will be a hit remains to be seen, but Samsung is clearly not going down without a fight.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.