SEOUL August 13 : Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled the Galaxy Note 9 “phablet” in New York on Thursday in a key product launch that it hopes will attract younger customers with stepped-up features and services for gamers and music-lovers.
Launching the Note 9 at 11 a.m. in New York, or Friday midnight in Seoul, Samsung also announced partnerships with global hit game Fortnite and music-streaming service Spotify Technology SA in a stepped-up challenge to Apple Inc in the premium-phone race.
Samsung’s new focus marks a shift away from its previous positioning of the Note as a multi-tasking device popular with graphic designers and artists.
But the hefty price tag – at $999.99 for the base 128 gigabyte model, according to U.S. carrier Verizon Communications Inc – has raised questions as to whether features such as a longer battery life and quick cooling would be enough to attract customers.
“I couldn’t find anything that was eye-catching enough to prompt customers to ignore the high price tag,” said Greg Roh, an analyst at Hyundai Motor Securities.
Shares of Samsung were down 3.5 percent in Seoul, mirroring weakness in other chip-related stocks.
Samsung is under pressure to jump-start faltering smartphone sales after posting its slowest quarterly profit growth in more than a year, as rivals such as China’s Huawei Technologies nipped at its heels with cheaper, feature-packed models.
The Note 9 will support up to 1 terabyte of memory – a 512GB version that can take another 512GB through a memory card – making Samsung the first major smartphone maker to sell a 1TB phone.
The phablet – a cross between a smartphone and a tablet – will hit stores on Aug. 24, Samsung said.