Samsung vies to preempt rivalry with Apple

Note 8 due this week, iPhone 8 release remains uncertain

By Kang Seung-woo

A leaked brochure for the Galaxy Note 8

NEW YORK — Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note 8, which will be unveiled this week, is seen as the only genuine flagship smartphone to lead the market in the second half amid reports of iPhone 8 production delays.

The Korean tech giant is scheduled to introduce its latest Note family on Wednesday (local time) at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, strategically ahead of the new smartphone of its archrival Apple, to steal the show.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Apple initially planned to debut the latest iPhone 8 in early September with many innovations, including a 3D face scanning camera. But things are not certain as there are many reports about production delays.

It might be good news for the Note 8, which may face weaker-than-expected competition and emerge as the most sought-after premium smartphone in the market. HMD Global’s Nokia 8 was the first flagship phone launched in the latter half of the year, but it is not expected to dazzle the market.

According to the Financial Times and other foreign media outlets, supply shortages and manufacturing problems threaten to push iPhone’s release later than Apple’s usual September launch.

Samsung will also be able to more easily achieve its mission with the Note 8 — to restore the damaged reputation of its jumbo phone series due to the humiliating recall of the Note 7 last year.

“The large-screened, high-priced Galaxy Note 8 will have to shake off the reputational damage of the recall of last year’s Note 7, but could provide an attractive alternative for customers who cannot get hold of a new, sold-out iPhone,” the Financial Times reported.

It also noted that the device will not reach a meaningful number of consumers until October or later.

While Apple is still struggling to circle the release date on the calendar of iPhone 8, Samsung is accelerating its efforts to have consumers get their hands on its new phones.

One day after taking the wraps off the Note 8, Samsung is expected to have the phone up for preorder in the United States, or on Aug. 24. And it may also display the latest device at the Berlin-based trade show, also known as IFA that will run from Sept. 1 to 6.

The Note 8 will go on sale on Sept. 15. All of this will happen before Apple CEO Tim Cook takes the stage to show off Apple’s new handset, which will enable Samsung to attract many new customers who cannot even preorder an iPhone.

“They will be able to walk out of the store with a brand new Note 8 ready to go. Samsung needs to maximize this window to gain as many new customers as possible,” Forbes said.

An official of the local telecom industry said, “The Samsung Note phones and the Apple iPhones have traditionally been the top options for consumers demanding high-end handsets in the second half. But the possible delay of iPhone 8 could give the Note 8 an edge in the sales competition.”

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