PARIS: The release of next year’s Galaxy S8 will be a crucial moment for Samsung. As the first major handset release after the battery-fuelled debacle of the Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy S8 needs to get it right from the moment it is revealed to the press and goes on sale to the public. For many years, the South Korean company has revealed its annual flagship at the start of Mobile World Congress in February. Not this year. Samsung is expected to delay the launch of the Android-powered Galaxy S8 into April, almost eight weeks after the expected launch date (reports Sammobile). The reported delay is not only to allow for the battery issues with the Note 7 to be fully resolved, but also to allow the marketing teams to build up increased levels of consumer confidence in the flagship handset. The decision to delay the launch of the Galaxy S8 is not a simple call to make. There are arguments for pushing ahead with a February launch date and presumably a March release to the public. That March release would allow the first wave of S8 sales to be counted in the Q1 2017 sales figures. Samsung’s Q4 2016 sales will be lower because of the lack of holiday sales for the Note 7 (even if the shiny black Galaxy S7 will do its best to make up the shortfall). Samsung lost a huge amount of financial momentum with the loss of the Note 7. Q3 2016 is already lower, with Q4 set to follow. In the short-term a February launch of the S8 would have acted as a stop-loss on the financials.
Galaxy S8 Leak Highlights Samsung’s Big Decision
It would have allowed Samsung to pick up momentum in front of the world’s media who annually descend on Barcelona to report in what the next twelve months have to offer. And with the Galaxy S8 targeting Galaxy S6 users coming to the end of a two-year contract it would have had a natural audience looking for a new handset as it went on sale. There is a perception that Samsung pushed hard on the Note 7 launch to beat the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Continuing the ‘no problems here, full steam ahead‘ reveal of the S8 in February would be a potentially reckless and foolhardy move. A delayed launch has its advantages, and right now these look to offer better value for the smartphone manufacturer. Thanks to the continued recalls, FAA warning announcements, and the forced bricking of Note 7 handsets that remain in the wild, the Note 7 issues remain in the public eye – and the focus has been not on the works ‘Note’ but on the word ‘Galaxy’. Although the fan base is read to buy a new handset from the company, Samsung must be anxious that the general public has not yet forgiven it. The Galaxy S8 also has to reintroduce technology to the public that was meant to debut and become established in the Note 7 package – hardware such as the iris recognition for biometric security – which requires more work on the PR and marketing side. Stepping away from the MWC scrum gives the S8 room to breath and time for the new features to be explored online. The push back to April also gives Samsung a different tactical angle to take with its press launch. Even if Apple does not release the equivalent of an iPhone SE 2 (and the current indications are that the SE will remain as a standalone point in the portfolio), the Galaxy S8 launch will come a few weeks after all of Samsung’s Android-powered rivals will have shown off the handsets at Mobile World Congress. Samsung’s press launch will be in the enviable position of making the last move with this generation of handsets. More time to educate the public on the S8, more time for the Note 7 to fade into history, and more opportunities to position the handset as the smartphone to beat all others. Samsung may not be commenting not he launch date of the Galaxy S8, but the principle of delaying the launch into Q2 is looking more attractive each day that 2017 draws closer.