Samsung certainly needs a big home run in the smartphone marketplace, and it may be hoping to find that big hit when it unveils its next Galaxy smartphone at a special March 1 event a day before the opening of the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain.
The company has unveiled a special media invitation to its "Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2015" event, which will also be live-streamed, to show off the next Galaxy phone, which will become the company's next flagship handset. No details are included, not even a tempting specification or feature, just a stark black-and-white image that includes the text, "What's Next" and a tantalizing silver-colored shape that includes a curved flip at one end.
Perhaps that means that there's a curved screen in the future for the next Galaxy smartphone? That's certainly possible and hinted at in the mysterious image. No model number has yet been announced for the new device.
Samsung launched its latest Galaxy S5 phone in early 2014, and then followed it up with a larger Galaxy Note 4 in September and its new Galaxy Note Edge smartphone in November, which includes a dramatic screen that curves around the right front edge of the phone, giving users a bit more screen real estate. The scrollable Edge menu panel can be customized by users to display their favorite apps for quick access.
A successful launch for the next Galaxy will be important for Samsung, which continues to try to battle out of a slump caused by cheap smartphones from China and the release of the new and improved iPhone 6 models from Apple. Samsung has been losing market share and revenue to its rivals and is already in the midst of plans to pare back its model line and cut production costs to better compete, according to earlier eWEEK reports.
Samsung has been getting hit hard since the release of the new iPhone 6 models, according to a recent consumer mobile phone market analysis report from the Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) analyst firm. Apple captured about 50 percent of the fourth-quarter 2014 smartphone sales in the United States, which helped the company handily beat its closest competitor, Samsung, by a 2-to-1 margin, the report stated. Samsung captured 26 percent of the market, followed by 11 percent for LG, 4 percent for Motorola and 2 percent for HTC, according to CIRP's figures. Nokia had 2 percent of the sales, while Amazon had 1 percent.
Recent data from Counterpoint Research showed that Apple iPhone sales hit a major high point in November 2014, when the company marked 20 million global iPhone sales in one month for the first time. Apple's good news has been bad news for Samsung on a global basis.
Samsung's 2014 fourth-quarter earnings were better than its third-quarter figures, but full-year profit and sales were down significantly from 2013. For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2014, Samsung posted revenue of $48 billion, up 11 percent from $43.2 billion in the third quarter. Net profit for the fourth quarter was $4.8 billion, up 26.3 percent from the $3.8 billion in the third quarter.
The $48 billion in Q4 revenue, however, was down 12 percent from $54 billion in the same quarter one year ago. Full-year 2014 revenue dropped 10.6 percent to $188 billion from $208 billion the year before.
The company posted a fourth-quarter net profit of $4.8 billion, down 37.5 percent from $6.6 billion one year ago. Full-year 2014 net profit was $21.28 billion, down 30 percent from $27.7 billion the year before.
In contrast, key rival Apple announced record-breaking first-quarter 2015 earnings on Jan. 27, with $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in net profits, fueled largely by sales of the latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, which were released last September. The $74.6 billion in quarterly revenue was a 30 percent increase from $57.6 billion in the same quarter one year ago; in that interval, net profit rose 37 percent to $18 billion from $13.1 billion.
Apple's iPhone revenue in the quarter totaled $51.2 billion, up from $32.5 billion for the same quarter one year ago. During the period, Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones worldwide—an increase of 46 percent from the 51 million iPhones Apple sold in the same quarter a year ago.