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Samsung Unveiled Galaxy S Smartphones in a Test of its Brand Strength

Samsung Electronics (005930. KS) on Wednesday unveiled its latest premium Galaxy S smartphones with a focus on powerful cameras, in a test of its brand strength as the mobile market undergoes unprecedented contraction.

Analysts say the Samsung Galaxy S 23 smartphone series, with its cameras and faster chips than its predecessor, could still face weak demand as consumers spend less amid rising inflation in a struggling global economy.

Acknowledging the challenge, the head of mobile experience of Samsung Galaxy, or MX business, told reporters in a briefing after the event that there is a “noticeable shift in the premium segment” in developing and emerging markets.

“We plan to focus on the premium segment in developed markets as well as in some countries where we are seeing solid growth,” he said.

The smartphone maker showcased the performance of the S23 Ultra at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco along with clips from two movies, “Look” by Ridley Scott, director of “Gladiator” and “The Martian” and South Korea’s Director Na “Faith”. Hong Jin both filmed using a top-line Galaxy smartphone.

It’s Samsung’s first 200-megapixel camera sensor, and the series uses a Qualcomm Inc ( QCOM.O ) Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile processor. Qualcomm said that with the S23 series, 100% of the processors used will be Qualcomm.

At the event, executives from Samsung, Qualcomm, and Alphabet Inc ( GOOGL.O ) Google gathered on stage to highlight their partnership in the XR space, which includes virtual and augmented reality.

Anshel Sag, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said the three worked together in the XR space about a decade ago, but this time the reboot for the partner came after Apple Inc ( AAPL.O ) acquired its mixed A reality headset is expected to be launched this year.

“I think it’s designed to give both Samsung and Google a little more credibility in the XR space because they’ve both been absent on the hardware side for a long time,” Sag said.

In the United States, the base Galaxy S23 will be priced from $799, and the two higher-spec versions, the S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra, from $999 and $1,199, respectively.

Samsung has kept prices at the same level as last year’s model despite the increase in component prices.

However, global smartphone shipments in the October-December period showed their biggest drop in a single quarter, falling 18.3 percent from a year earlier to 300.3 million units, the research firm said last month.

According to data released by IDC. The data cast doubt on forecasts of a modest recovery in the mobile market this year.

In this challenging environment, analysts said a mobile strategy of Samsung will focus on profitability through premium offerings including the S series and foldable.

“Samsung can no longer afford to focus on volume,” said Liz Lee, associate director at research firm Counterpoint.

“It should boldly simplify low- and mid-range products, market segments where Chinese competitors have gained a lot.”

Samsung said on Tuesday that sales of low- and mid-range smartphones fell more than expected in the fourth quarter.

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