Samsung's Latest Galaxy Handsets Are Variations on a Tired Theme
Adding to Samsung's problems is the fact that its competitors at the low end of the market are all racing toward the bottom at a breakneck pace. This race is so intense that one of Samsung's major competitors, HTC, has essentially lost all of its value, according to a report in Bloomberg Business. Now, Samsung will have to contend with a competitor in HTC that is suffering from rapidly shrinking sales, rapidly rising inventories and shrinking markets. The most likely outcome for HTC will be to dump millions of products on the market at fire-sale prices just to get out from under all of that unsold inventory. What this means to Samsung is that the company is going to be facing a major competitor that is virtually giving its devices away almost for free. This, in turn, will have a major negative impact on Samsung's sales and revenue while limiting the amount of money it can spend to make its high-end products even better than they are now. Of course, Samsung will still have some features that no one else has or has thought to bring to a phone (like the creepy ability to watch your eyes to see where you're looking), but it's hard to see how the company will be able to afford major breakthroughs in the immediate future.Apple, meanwhile, will be bringing that Force Touch, and, very likely, a case that's sturdy enough that it won't bend when you sit on it. But will there be anything that will cause a sales bonanza like the one that happened in the last quarter of 2014? Probably not. Of course, what made Apple's sales go through the roof last year was the introduction of larger screens, which met a huge pent-up demand. Even if Apple changes the screen size again (which is unlikely) it probably won't cause sales to explode in the same way. That kind of explosive sales season will need something to trigger it. Something really new that hasn't been seen in smartphones before. What will it be? Will Siri become telepathic? Will Samsung Pay lend you five bucks until payday? Will Google Pay know exactly what your heart's desire is and order it for you? Probably not—Yawn.
What this likely means is that what we will see from Samsung during this year's Christmas spending season are just variations on an existing theme that's getting tired. Maybe more wrap-around screens, certainly more devices with Samsung Pay, but will there be anything else of note?