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How Samsung is Changing its Smartphone Strategy with Galaxy S22 Series


Samsung Galaxy S22 series has been launched worldwide as the company tries to bring about a major change to its smartphone strategy.

The premium smartphones launched at the Galaxy Unpacked 2022 event on Wednesday has made it obvious that the Korean smartphone maker sees the future of Galaxy Note in the form of the Galaxy S22 Ultra which comes with S Pen and drool-worthy hardware.

“The Galaxy S22 Ultra, merging the best of two smartphone legacies – the unrivalled power of the Note series and the pro-grade camera and performance of the S series – to set a new standard for premium smartphones. Featuring a built-in S Pen, advanced Nightography and video capabilities, and battery life that lasts over a day, Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most powerful Ultra device Samsung has ever created,” the company said in a statement.

While Samsung has seen phenomenal success with the Galaxy Note, lately, critics started questioning the need to have a Galaxy Note phone next to a Galaxy S series smartphone. The no-show of Galaxy Note 21 last year just fielded speculation that Samsung would slowly kill the Note lineup.

A company like Samsung could have retained the Galaxy Note series and kept launching the product even if it sells in low volume. But there was much more to the debacle. Reports show that not only Samsung was quickly losing the market share to OnePlus and Apple in the high-end smartphone market, but it had also become increasingly difficult to justify who was the target audience for the Note series.

In every sense, abandoning the Galaxy Note series entirely for the Galaxy S series would have been a poor choice, given how last year’s Galaxy S21 met with a lukewarm response. The only viable option was to merge the Galaxy Note and S lineups and pitch the Ultra-branded smartphone as the one phone that has the DNA of S-series with the extra productivity of the S-Pen.

This not only simplifies Samsung’s complex smartphone lineup but also allows the company to focus on devices like the Z Fold 3 which have the potential to bring in more money as the market for foldables matures.

Having said that Samsung was quietly creating a global smartphone revolution, breaking new grounds since 2011, when it came up with Galaxy Note that merged the convenience and portability of smartphones with the expansive screen and notepad-like functionality of tablets. As Dr. TM Roh, President & Head of MX Business, Samsung Electronics, mentioned in a statement, “While some balked at the 5.3-inch display — considered enormous then — Note created a legacy where a large display is now the standard. The S Pen also packed creativity with productivity – whenever inspiration struck, they could quickly write down their ideas and thoughts in Samsung Notes.”

In 2019, the company once again redefined smartphones when it launched Galaxy Z Fold series. With Flex mode, hands-free video calling options and multitasking with multiple windows, the cutting-edge foldable design changed how people used their phones for work and daily use.

Roh said, “For years, Samsung has converted the sceptics who thought our ideas were impossible. Whether it’s a screen that’s too big, a stylus no one knew they needed or a pro-grade camera that could truly bring mobile photography out of the dark. With every fresh evolution of Samsung Galaxy devices, we have introduced features that redefine the entire mobile category. And we’re about to rewrite the rules of industry once again.”

According to GlobalData, Samsung is addressing an emerging market trend by merging Galaxy Note and Ultra Phones. Anisha Bhatia, Senior Analyst at GlobalData, comments, “A combined Ultra and Note was widely expected after Note phones disappeared from Samsung’s line-up last year. Continued remote working has seen people rely heavily on their smartphones and expect more out of them. Merging these two phones allows Samsung to navigate ongoing supply chain and component shortage issues, as well as address a growing category of users who demand high productivity combined with entertainment from their devices.

Bhatia believes, even with a rise in mid-range 5G phones, premium phones are largely responsible for mainstream adoption of 5G services. According to GlobalData, 5G mobile service revenues in North America will reach $195.7 billion by 2026. Carriers will continue to use Samsung and Apple 5G phones to upsell premium service plans to consumers.

“With a lot of expectations around the S22 phones, especially the Ultra with the S-Pen, these are poised for success,” she added.

Indeed, the arrival of the Galaxy S22 Ultra gives the S-series lineup a sense of purpose and target audience, which was missing in the last few generations of devices. This might give a kick to the Galaxy S series in terms of sales, giving consumers a sense that the S22 Ultra is the only high-end smartphone with a built-in S-Pen.

Needless to say then Samsung is making the Note brand relevant despite not selling a dedicated smartphone series anymore. In every sense, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is a Galaxy Note device is aimed at both enterprise and end-user enthusiasts  who are looking at a high-end smartphone that focuses on productivity and creativity.

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at sohini.bagchi@trivone.com