Samsung is launching its high-end smartphones, including the Note 20 Ultra, during the pandemic.

Samsung

Virtual sales pitches and consultations. Contactless device demonstrations in the shop. Offers galore. These are just a few of the plans in Samsung's Playbook for Selling Cell Phones During One pandemic. The South Korean electronics giant unveiled this last week Galaxy Z Fold 2 Along with the $ 999 Note 20, the $ 1,299 Note 20 Ultra, the $ 649 Galaxy Tab S7 tablet, the $ 399 Galaxy Watch 3 and the $ 170 Galaxy Buds Live earbuds. Samsung already has began pre-orders for the new bonds. Orders will be dispatched on or around Friday, August 21st.

Samsung does not yet have detailed pricing or availability for the Z fold 2but said it will share more information on September 1st. The first generation of the device was priced at $ 1,980 and came with 4G in the US. The new model packs up 5G connectivity Across the three major US airlines, a pane of glass and a redesigned hinge that could make it even more expensive.

Samsung, which recently lost its crown as the world's largest phone maker to Huawei, is launching its new devices in a difficult environment. Instead of facing a strong market for phones, with 5G and foldable screens allow users to update their devicesMost cell phone manufacturers are seeing lower demand amid the raging coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people are unemployed, hundreds of thousands have died, and regions around the world continue to battle a seemingly endless spike in infections. Consumers opt for cheaper devices, save their money altogether or spend their money on it Piece and other homework and entertainment items.

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Samsung's job with its new line of products is to find buyers willing to lose a giant or two during a pandemic and recession. The new products were developed before novel coronavirus spread around the globe, meaning Samsung was unable to tweak the Note 20 or its other new devices to fight the pandemic.

Drew Blackard, vice president of product management at Samsung Electronics America, said in a pre-launch interview that the terms of sale for the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra may change.

"It was a bit more about how you react to the current situation than anything you do to retool," said Blackard. "Despite the fact that we couldn't change devices, we thought about how to get to market."


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This also includes the virtual consultations, where the interaction when buying online becomes more similar to the store experience. Contactless digital demos give customers in-store insight into the functions of the Note, right from their own devices. And Samsung is looking for ways to tailor its future products and services to meet the needs of people who are mostly stuck at home, such as making it easier to track fitness and stay healthy during quarantine.

Lower phone sales

Samsung's phone sales took a hit during the pandemic. It is Galaxy S20 The statement became available approximately a week prior to home-stay assignments in parts of the United States. Because consumers were worried about money and couldn't see the new devices in person, demand fell. Last week, Samsung announced that cell phone sales were down 18% year over year.

In the second quarter, according to Canalys, Apple was the only smartphone vendor where shipments increased. Apple's iPhone SE, the first major overhaul of its popular little phone in four years, launched in mid-April with a starting price of $ 399. That seemed like the perfect phone for the time, and helped improve Apple's results. The device costs $ 300 less than the iPhone 11, but it has many of the same specs that appeal to people who can't afford a $ 700 phone, let alone $ 1,000 iPhone 11 Pro.

Samsung, despite the launch of its new Galaxy S20 range in March and its less expensive Galaxy A phonesCanalys said the second quarter saw the largest year-over-year decline of the top five phone manufacturers in the world. The 30% decline enabled Huawei to make Samsung the world's largest smartphone provider for the first time. It was the first time in nine years that companies other than Samsung or Apple had shipped most of the phones.

Samsung said in a statement it will continue to focus on "creating innovative mobile experiences that improve the lives of our users". Part of that is Unpacked's new devices, and it noted during its late July revenue that it will also bolster its "mass-market roster" of less expensive phones.

In the US at least, Samsung found "that the demand for premium devices is actually still quite high," said Blackard. Still, Samsung sold around 44% fewer Galaxy S20 models than the Galaxy S10 in its first four months of sales last year in the US, according to M Science, a data analytics provider that tracks stats like mobile adoption.

Google unveiled its new smartphone, the Pixel 4A, last Monday. Rather than launching a high-end flagship, Google decided to slightly reduce the specifications of the Pixel to bring it in at $ 349. The phone doesn't have 5G or a premium processor, but "for its price, the Pixel 4A has one of the best cameras you can get on a phone," said CNET's Lynn La in her review of the device.

The new Note 20 range is nowhere near as expensive as this one. The phones start at $ 1,000. For some people at this point in time, this pricing could be tough to put up with. The mad Note fan base is working in favor of Samsung.

"What we've shown here over the past five months is that we have probably the broadest portfolio of any company in the industry," said Blackard. "We went down to $ 99 on the A01, except for Galaxy Fold, which equates to [roughly] $ 2,000. … Our portfolio is very well suited to the current situation."

Still, the new Note range has a lot in common with the Galaxy S20 devices from earlier this year. In the past, the Note had the latest and greatest technology first, and it had the largest screen too. Now the Galaxy S range gets a lot of features first, and the leaflets are Samsung's new ultra-premium range. For years there have been questions about where the Note fits into the overall range from Samsung.

"It will be interesting to see if this will be the final evolution of the note in its current format," said Ben Wood, analyst at CCS Insight. "These days, consumers typically stick to their smartphones for at least three years, so two flagship launches per year may no longer be required."

Promote online shopping

A big focus for Samsung during the pandemic is increasing online phone sales, which wasn't a big market in the US. This is where most of the people buy their phones from vendors like Verizon and AT&T and usually at least look at them in person before making the purchase. But the pandemic has shut many stores across the country and prevented people from holding new phones before buying them.

"People shop on their phones, but they don't buy phones on their phones," Blackard said.

To make it easier to buy smartphones online, Samsung offered contactless delivery and increased the return window for its devices from 14 to 30 days. In addition, a first-aid discount has been created for all products, which corresponds to the Samsung employee discount.


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Since the pandemic began, the number of online purchases in the US in the phone industry has almost doubled compared to in-store, Blackard said.

Samsung is also offering virtual consultations starting this month, which includes information that potential buyers would normally get when they go into physical stores – such as detailing a device's features, explaining their phone plan and potential offers for the phone, and answering questions .

"From your computer, you can simply log in and have a Samsung representative who will walk you through this buying process as if you were in a retail store," said Blackard. He added that the consultants will initially be Samsung employees, but the company hopes to work with others such as B. Carriers to work together to deliver the same experience.

Change the in-store experience

For stores that are open, Samsung is introducing a new "touchless digital retail mode" with the Note 20, Blackard said. Typically, store visitors pick up new equipment and play with it before deciding to buy it. Samsung technology allows users to scan a QR code with their own devices and "have a virtual experience of what it's like to use the Note 20 on the device you have in hand," he said.

"People may not want to touch a phone right now when they walk into a store," Blackard said.

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are available in a striking bronze tone

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Samsung also knows it needs to make its devices more attractive to consumers. After the introduction of the Galaxy S20 in March, Samsung offered "Work from Home Bundles" that gave offers for devices. And last month, the company partnered with Postmates to offer anyone who bought certain Galaxy devices a free year of Postmates Unlimited, the service that delivers orders for free.

While the new Note range isn't cheap, Samsung plans to offer generous specials on the phones. Note 20 buyers will receive $ 100 Samsung.com gift cards, while Note 20 Ultra buyers will receive $ 150. Samsung also has trade-in offers to spend up to $ 650 on older devices, and it has expanded its upgrade program that allows device owners to get a new Galaxy phone every year.

And Samsung on Wednesday announced a new partnership with Microsoft for a gaming bundle that includes the following Three free months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and a Bluetooth controller. The two companies have also worked to bring Android apps to Windows and incorporate other productivity features into Samsung mobile devices. This has attracted more buyers and could appeal to people who work from home.

"The Note has a growing place in the Samsung lineup," said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research. "Samsung has shifted it to productivity freaks."

Future products

Huawei, which sells most of its devices in its home country of China, has already made some design changes to its phones such as: B. adding a temperature sensor to his Honor Play 4 Pro so that the smartphone can act as a thermometer.

Samsung isn't ready to talk about changes to its devices, Blackard said, but it is looking at three big areas for innovation: fitness and health; Shop; and entertainment.

The areas "are very exploratory," said Blackard. Samsung will not provide new services or features out of the box, but sees them as "areas of investigation and product collaboration to bring these solutions to market".

When it comes to fitness, Samsung is researching tools that can help people "find out how to exercise from home," Blackard said. For health reasons, Samsung is reviewing telehealth support features, the digital doctor appointments that more people have during the pandemic.

"How can we delve deeper with consumers into some of the things they are going through and then ultimately develop solutions for them?" Blackard said.

In retail, Samsung is looking for ways to improve the online shopping experience. "Given all the technology we have in these [new note] devices – 5G connectivity, great expanded reality Solutions, three cameras – the mobile shopping experience is still pretty straightforward, "said Blackard.

And with entertainment, Samsung is thinking about how it can help people enjoy concerts, sports, movies, and other content from home instead of in person. Instead of creating its own services – something Samsung is struggling with – the company has decided in recent years to partner with other companies, such as working with Microsoft to offer Xbox Cloud games for the Note 20. More opportunities are being sought to work with partners in entertainment, Blackard said.

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