Tuesday 21 November 2017

Samsung claims spike in Irish pre-orders for its new S7 phone

The S7 on display at a launch event in Dublin on Tuesday night.
The S7 on display at a launch event in Dublin on Tuesday night.
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Samsung executives claim that Irish pre-orders for the company's new Galaxy S7 phone are at three times the level of its last flagship phone, the S6.

The Korean company's Ireland manager, Gary Twohig, and its head of mobile in the UK and Ireland, Conor Pierce, said they hoped a push into virtual reality ecosystem would help sales of the handset.

The executives did not quantify how many pre-orders for the phone have been received, nor did they offer a total figure for the S7 and the S7 Edge, which costs more than the S7.

Sales of the previous S6 phone last year were below expectations and led to a fall in Samsung's share price.

The Galaxy S7 phone will go on sale in Ireland tomorrow.

The 5.1-inch handset, which adds waterproof capability and a brighter 12-megapixel camera, will be available from free on contract with operators or at €659 on prepay.

The device comes with 32GB or 64GB of storage together with 4GB of Ram, making it the most powerful handset on the market. It also has one of the most advanced screens available, with 577 pixels per inch.

As well as its onboard storage, there's also an additional storage option in its 200GB memory card slot. Battery life has been extended, with a 3,000mAh battery included. The new phone's screen now comes out to the very edge of the phone's frame, making the phone smaller and sleeker than most phones with the same size screen. Samsung has followed the lead of a handful of other phone manufacturers and reduced the number of megapixels its camera has in favour of 'larger' pixels. So the S7's main rear camera has 12 megapixels instead of the S6's 16 megapixels.

(For comparison, the iPhone 6S has 12 similarly 'large' megapixels while Sony's Xperia Xperia Z5 has 23 'regular' megapixels.)

The lens sports an f1.7 aperture, which means it lets in more light than before and lets you create nice effects, such as shallow depths of field.

The lens now protrudes less from the back of the phone, while the 'selfie' front lens has five megapixels.

Samsung's head of mobile in the UK and Ireland, Conor Pierce, said that the Gear VR virtual reality headset accessory would be a central selling point for the S7 phone.

He also said that Samsung's virtual reality camera, the Gear 360, would arrive in the Irish market by June.

Samsung is expected to launch its mobile payment system, Samsung Pay, into the Irish market this year.

In doing so, the Korean company could steal a march on Apple, which has yet to announce the launch of its mobile payment system, Apple Pay, for the Irish market. In the US, samsung has signed up five million users and processed more than $500m in transactions since its debut there last September.

By comparison, Apple Pay has attracted 12 million monthly users globally since its October 2014 launch, while Google's Android Pay has garnered five million people who use it monthly since becoming available in September 2015 according to estimates by mobile-payment researcher Crone Consulting.

Samsung Pay works on five of its latest Galaxy phones. Apple Pay works in stores on iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch paired with an iPhone 5 or more recent models.

Google, Apple and Samsung are among the companies seeking to capture a piece of a market that Forrester Research estimates will top €120bn by 2019.

For Samsung, with its earnings sliding and shares battered, it's a way to protect market share in smartphone sales to Apple.

At the end of 2015, Samsung had 22pc of the global market for smartphone shipments and Apple had 16pc, according to researcher Strategy Analytics.

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