However, Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh says that his company is likely to take a different approach with future smartphones. Instead of reserving all of its new, innovative features for expensive flagships, Samsung is looking to introduce some of this tech on its mid-range smartphones instead, starting with the Galaxy A-Series.
“In the past, I brought the new technology and differentiation to the flagship model and then moved to the mid-end,” said Koh in an interview with CNBC. “But I have changed my strategy from this year to bring technology and differentiation points starting from the mid-end.”
Koh says that this strategy, which offers more bang for the buck for customers that don’t want to plunk down $800+ for a new smartphone, is aimed at millennials that are more price conscious. “How can I deliver meaningful innovation to our millennials? That's the reason I'm trying to differentiate the mid-section," Koh added.
Samsung has been feeling the pressure from Chinese OEM’s like Huawei and Xiaomi, which are offering flagship features and technology at a price point similar to Samsung’s mid-range offerings. It should come as no surprise that this value proposition is why Huawei recently slipped past Apple to secure second place in global smartphone sales. Samsung still has a comfortable lead in first place, but given the fact that sales in its smartphone division were down 20 percent year-over-year for Q2, there is tremendous cause for concern.
Smartphone sales in general are starting to slow, and Samsung specifically confirmed that sales of its flagship Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ have been disappointing so far this year. While the company is hopeful that interest in the Galaxy Note 9 will help those sales numbers as it closes out 2018, we have to be mindful that it is a device that starts at $999 and will have limited mass appeal.