New year, new happiness: will Samsung find its way out of the crisis?

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Things are not going well at Samsung. The South Korean electronics giant has had a year of disappointments and scandals. There is the Galaxy Fold. It was supposed to be the first mobile phone in the world with a foldable display when it was presented with a lot of media attention a year ago. But when the first test devices were delivered, it soon turned out that the display was not yet ready for the market. Some specimens didn’t last a week before the screen gave up. Samsung had to completely revise the folding mechanism of the 2000-euro cell phone, and it was only in September that the device finally came to the market in South Korea.

The other smartphones from Samsung could not compensate for the damage. In the fourth quarter, Samsung had to hand over its market leadership position to Apple in the field of cell phones sold, and Huawei had to be given the lead in the promising 5G cell phones. In addition, both the semiconductor and the display division of Samsung Electronics are in crisis. This had a major impact on the company’s profit, which fell from EUR 37 billion to EUR 16.7 billion in the fourth quarter.

In addition to the bad numbers, Samsung was also hit by scandals last year. There is, for example, the ongoing corruption affair surrounding Vice President and de facto boss Lee Jae-yong. The grandson of the Samsung founder, who was named “Prince of Samsung” by the press, was sentenced to five years in 2017 for bribing the then and now also convicted President of the country, Park Geun-hye. Now that new details about the affair have become known, Lee has to go to court again after he has actually been released from prison. Samsung’s chairman of the supervisory board, Lee Sang-hoon, is now sitting there after he was sentenced to 18 months at the end of December. Lee and 25 of his subordinates had acted aggressively against union workers in the company.


New year, new happiness: will Samsung find its way out of the crisis?

Large camera module of the S20 Ultra

Picture: AFP

New cell phones should fix it

Given this long list of misconduct, Samsung urgently needs good press. The “Samsung Galaxy Unpacked” came just in time on Tuesday. The Group shows its latest cell phones every February at the event that sets the trend for the entire industry. This time the S20 was presented in three versions and the Z Flip clamshell phone. The Z Flip received the most attention, Samsung had already announced the mobile phone on the Oscar night with effective advertising. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, the flip is folded horizontally, reminiscent of the clamshell phones from the pre-smartphone era. The Motorola Razr 2019 is already a similar competitor on the market, but the Z Flip has significantly stronger hardware and a glass-coated display, while the Razr screen is protected by a plastic that is quite susceptible to scratches in the test. Samsung has learned a lot from the Galaxy Fold debacle, the folding mechanism has a high-quality effect and has been extensively protected against the ingress of dirt particles. Nevertheless, a slight dent remains at the kink of the display, which is both visible and palpable.


New year, new happiness: will Samsung find its way out of the crisis?

S20, S20 + and S20 Ultra (from left to right) in size comparison

Picture: Samsung

The Galaxy S20 is the successor to last year’s flagship S10. In order to pick up as many customers as possible, there is now an ultra version in addition to the normal S20 and the larger S20 +. The S20 already offers very high-quality hardware, including a 120 Hertz screen, high-end processor and 12 GB RAM. The S20 Ultra puts a bucket on it almost everywhere and inspires with its bulky camera module on the back, which has a 100x hybrid zoom.

Good, but expensive

So much high-quality technology costs. The non-5G-capable version of the S20 with a list price of 899 euros is the cheapest of the models presented. The 5G variant costs 999 euros, as does the basic version of the S20 +. The Galaxy S20 Ultra costs 1349 euros, the Z Flip even costs 1480 euros. The prices are reasonable for the hardware, but it remains to be seen how many customers are willing to pay just under 1000 euros or more for their new cell phone. The Galaxy Flip is already available, the S20 models can be pre-ordered and will be available on March 6th.

Technical specifications

Galaxy Z Flip

Display: 6.7 inch OLED foldable, 1080 x 2636 pixels
Chip: Snapdragon 855+
Memory: 256 GB, 8 GB RAM
Battery: 3300 mAh

Galaxy S20 / S20 +

Display: 6.2 / 6.7 inch OLED, 1440 x 3200 pixels
Chip: Exynos 990
Memory: 128/256/512 GB internal, 12 GB RAM
Battery: 4000/4500 mAh

Galaxy S20 Ultra

Display: 6.7 inch OLED foldable, 1080 x 2636 pixels
Chip: Exynos 990
Memory: 128/256/512 GB internal, 12/16 GB RAM
Battery: 5000 mAh
All: Android 10.0, One UI 2

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