Samsung Smartphones: Product Overview and Insight

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Today: Samsung Electronics  (enterprise and consumer electronic devices)

Company description: Samsung Electronics is a South Korean multinational electronics company engaged in consumer electronics, information technology and mobile communications, and device solutions businesses worldwide.

The company develops, manufactures, and sells various consumer products, including mobile phones, tablets, televisions, Blu-ray players, DVD players, home theater systems, digital cameras, and camcorders; home appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, ovens, and dishwashers; PCs, peripherals, and printers comprising tablet PCs, notebooks, monitors, optical disc drives, printers, and computers; memory and storage products such as solid state drives and memory cards; and accessories.

The company also provides healthcare and medical equipment comprising ultrasound, digital X-ray, and in-vitro diagnostics; telecommunications infrastructures, including wireless and enterprise network systems; standalone mobile APs for smartphones, CMOS image sensors for mobile cameras, and display driver and smart card ICs; LCD display panels and OLED panels for mobiles; and LED lighting solutions that include LED packages, LED display modules, LED light engines, and LED retrofit lamps. In addition, it is engaged in cyber game match hosting; technology business venture capital investments; the manufacture of semiconductor components; semiconductor equipment businesses; the sponsoring of sports teams and games; and credit management activities.

Samsung Electronics also provides repair services for electronic devices as well as general logistics agency, consultation, and communication system services. It has operations in Korea, China, Latin and North America, Europe, the Asia Pacific, and Africa.

Samsung Electronics was founded in 1969 as a subsidiary of Samsung Group and is headquartered in Suwon, South Korea. It went public in the U.S. markets on June 1, 2003.

Samsung’s affiliate companies produce around one-fifth of South Korea's total exports. Samsung's revenue was equal to 17 percent of South Korea's $1.1 trillion GDP. Globally, Samsung continues to top the smartphone list with 20.9 percent market share, as of August 2018. Despite an year-on-year fall of 10.4 percent in shipments in the first half of 2018, the company still managed to stay on top. 

Markets:  Personal connected devices, electronic components, home appliances, semiconductors, various enterprise IT equipment and many more.

Headquarters: Suwon, South Korea.

International Operations:  Sales, management and manufacturing facilities in various locations in Korea, China, Latin and North America, Europe, the Asia Pacific, and Africa.

Key Products and Features

For this page, eWEEK is focusing on the company’s most recent smartphones. The flagship Galaxy S9/S9+, which launched late in the first quarter 2018, witnessed slower-than-normal sales according to Samsung, which claims the slowdown is due to both intensified competition at the high end and an overall sluggish smartphone market. However, the company is hopeful that with the arrival of Galaxy Note 9 in fall 2018 and the new Galaxy 10s, launched in February 2019, sales will rebound.

Here is the rundown on the latest Galaxies:

Samsung Galaxy Fold: The Fold is definitely innovative, with a 4.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED display (21:9 aspect ratio) on its front and a large interior display that unfolds into a 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED screen (4.2:3 aspect ratio). For users, the Fold will likely be all about that big screen. But priced starting at $1,980—or twice the price of a typical flagship handset—the Galaxy Fold will not be a smartphone for everybody.

In addition to its dual 7.3-inch and 4.6-inch displays, the Galaxy Fold features a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor, 12GB of LPDDR4x RAM, 512GB of on-board storage and a 4,380mAh battery with fast charging and wireless charging capabilities. The Fold does not have a microSD slot for additional storage.

The Fold also features the same cameras as the new Galaxy S10+ and S10 smartphones, including a new three-lens rear main camera set with a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens, a 12MP dual pixel wide-angle lens and a 12MP telephoto lens. On the front are a pair of 10MP and 8MP auto-focus cameras.

The Galaxy Fold phone will be available in the United States through AT&T and T-Mobile starting in the second quarter of 2019.

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Samsung Galaxy S10+:  The base Galaxy S10+ features a 6.4-inch Wide Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display, which is larger than the 6.2-inch display in the previous S9+ phone, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 octa-core processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. The S10+ is also available in premium versions with a ceramic front and rear cover with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of onboard storage or with 12GB of RAM and 1TB of onboard storage. The earlier S9+ included 6GB of RAM and started at 64GB of RAM.

Samsung Galaxy S10: The base Galaxy S10 includes a 6.1-inch Wide Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display, which is larger than the 5.8-inch display in the previous S9 phone; a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 octa-core processor; 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage; and a 3,400mAh battery. The earlier Galaxy S9 had 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage.

The S10 also includes the new three-lens rear main camera set, featuring a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens, a 12MP dual pixel wide-angle lens and a 12MP telephoto lens; as well as a single 10MP front auto-focus camera and an under-screen, embedded ultrasonic fingerprint scanner and facial recognition for security. A microSD slot that accepts flash cards up to 512GB is also standard for expanded storage.

The S10 has protective Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and Gorilla Glass 5 on its back.

The Galaxy S10 is also available in a version with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of onboard storage.

Samsung Galaxy S10e: The new model in the S10 line, the S10e, is being touted as a lower-priced version with a wider, flat screen for users who want to use their smartphone as an entertainment hub in addition to its standard uses.

The S10e features a 5.8-inch Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display and starts with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. It includes the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 octa-core processor as its two siblings, as well as a 3,100mAh battery, dual 16MP and 12MP rear main cameras, and a dual-pixel 10MP front camera.

The S10e is also being offered in a version with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of onboard storage. A microSD slot that accepts flash cards up to 512GB is also standard for expanded storage. The S10e includes a capacitive fingerprint scanner and facial recognition for user security. The Galaxy S10e features protective Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on its front and back.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G: The coming Galaxy S10 5G will include a 6.7-inch Infinity-O display, a 4,500mAh battery, a 3D depth camera and enhanced artificial intelligence capabilities when it is released later this year. The Galaxy S10 5G will be available through Verizon Wireless exclusively for a limited time in the first half of 2019, and then will be launched by AT&T, Spectrum Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile and Xfinity Mobile during the summer.

Preorders for the Galaxy S10+, S10 and S10e will begin Feb. 21 with prices starting at $900 for the Galaxy S10, $1,000 for the Galaxy S10+ and $750 for the Galaxy S10e for carrier-provided or unlocked versions.

Insight and Analysis

Dan Olds, principal analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, told eWEEK that the jump from the previous Galaxy S9 to the new Galaxy S10 is a more significant step up for users than the move from the earlier Galaxy S8 to the Galaxy S9.

"The S10 has a new screen design with less bezel, and we all know that less bezel is better," said Olds. "The new chip fueling this phone plus the 4GB extra RAM should provide significantly higher performance than the S9. We won’t know exactly how much more until the phone is released and we see some real-world benchmarks, but I’m estimating the new S10 will perform 25-30 percent better than the S9 it replaces."

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said he liked that Samsung invested in improved, notchless Infinity-O displays, which provide a more edge-to-edge display, as well as improved processor performance, better battery life, better cameras, under-display ultrasonic fingerprint readers and all-new power sharing from the phones to other mobile devices.

"I believe Samsung did more than enough to incentivize Galaxy S8 owners to upgrade, and even for some Galaxy S9 owners who just want to have the best," said Moorhead.

"I was pleasantly surprised at the under-display ultrasonic fingerprint reader," he added. "I believe users will love this feature and, by using the ultrasonic technology, should be more secure. Fingerprint readers on the back of a device don't work well, and many users get many rejections with their existing 3D face log-ins."

Moorhead said it makes sense that Samsung brought out the cheaper, entertainment-focused S10e model for some users for the first time. "As markets mature, companies need to segment more and be more precise with offerings with a certain set of features at a certain price," he said. "This is the way the auto industry operates and why it is still profitable. So, yes, I expected the S10e as consumers in many regions are looking for an entry-level premium model smartphone without some of the bells and whistles."

Another analyst, Rob Enderle of Enderle Group, said he wasn't surprised by the emergence of the S10e because phone prices continue to soar.

"Smartphones have gotten too expensive, and there is a lot of pressure at the low end from new companies that are clearly taking share from the larger firms," said Enderle. "The market is price-sensitive. Still, value phones tied to a premium brand tend to devalue the premium brand, which could hurt Samsung long term." 

Delivery:  Many retail locations, and on websites such as Samsung.com, BestBuy.com, NewEgg.com and others.

Pricing: See individual product pages here. eWEEK will publish its own product pages shortly.

Other key players in this market: Apple, Google, LT, Huawei (China),  Xiaomi (China), Oppo (China)

Contact information for potential customers:  https://www.samsung.com/us/

eWEEK Senior Writer Todd R. Weiss contributed to this report.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...