SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics unveiled the latest versions of its flagship Galaxy S smartphones on Wednesday which feature enhanced camera functions and a faster processor chip, hoping the upgrade will revive sales after two weak years.
The S22 series will directly compete with Apple’s iPhone 13 launched last September. Samsung’s two-track premium mobile strategy has it launching flagship models in the first half of a year and Galaxy Z foldable phones in the second.
Aimed at appealing to consumers who are fussy about video and photo quality, Samsung said the S22 phones’ camera offers clearer low light and night shots as well as automatic framing that can track up to 10 people, ensuring they are all in the frame and in focus.
The most expensive version, the S22 Ultra, comes with a stylus – a signature feature of Samsung’s large-screen Galaxy Note model which many fans and analysts now believe to be discontinued.
While Samsung saw sales of smartphones drop off during the pandemic, arch-rival Apple logged sales gains.
The Galaxy S suite of products usually sells more than 30 million units annually. But it logged less than 25 million in 2020 and a little less than 30 million last year, hampered in part by component shortages, said Jene Park, a senior analyst at research firm Counterpoint.
“We believe that Samsung will ship more than 15 million units of the Galaxy S22 family in the first half of 2022. If the initial sell-through is good we can expect it to reach 30 million units in 2022,” he said.
A global semiconductor shortage is expected to continue into this year but analysts predict Samsung will fare better than many rivals thanks to its huge buying power and strong grip on its supply chain.
Samsung said the S22 Ultra, S22 Plus and S22 will be widely available starting Feb. 25.
In the United States, the Galaxy S22 will be priced from $799.99, the S22 Plus at $999.99 and the S22 Ultra at $1,199.99.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Edwina Gibbs)