Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Google to launch high-end smartphones this month; check details

Vidya.S   New Delhi     Last Updated: September 11, 2017  | 11:05 IST
Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Google to launch high-end smartphones this month; check details

After a six-month lull in new high-end smartphones hitting the market, consumers have plenty of reasons to cheer this festive season with at least four premium models - iPhone 8, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Nokia 8 and Google Pixel 2 - likely to be launched over the next month.

"There have not been any big launches in this Rs 30,000-plus category since Samsung brought out its S8 model in March. With the festive line-up looking very exciting, there is buoyancy in the segment again," said Croma chief marketing officer, Ritesh Ghosal.

This festive season will be the most competitive one as far as the premium segment is concerned, according to Tarun Pathak, associate director at Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research. Samsung and Apple, the biggest names in the business and lifestyle category, are both set to launch their latest creations on Tuesday. The iPhone 8 will be released alongside the iPhone 8 Plus and the tenth anniversary model, reportedly called iPhone X.

The base model is estimated to cost upwards of Rs 65,000. MEANWHILE, Samsung is launching the Galaxy Note 8 in India in 64GB and 128GB variants. The base storage model is expected to be priced above Rs 65,000. "It's an Apple vs Samsung game in India's premium segment. Together, these brands command over 80 per cent of the market share," said IDC senior market analyst Jaipal Singh.

They have been competing neck-to-neck for the past few quarters, he added. However, the new launch will be an acid test for the South Korean brand after its Galaxy Note 7 disaster. The line, launched in August 2016, had to be junked after users complaints about phone battery explosions poured in. The sales of iPhone 7, launched a month later, reinstated Apple as the world's top smartphone seller in the October-December quarter of 2016, according to some reports.

Google is expected to come out with its Pixel 2 by September-end. While the previous model was criticised for the hefty price tag given its specifications, the 64 GB variant of the new model is reported to cost Rs 61,999. Nokia 8, the brand's flagship Android smartphone, is expected to go on sale in late September or early October with an expected price tag of Rs 39,999. "In the past 12 months, the only big launch was that of Samsung S8," pointed out Ghosal.

It's also a very different sort of a mix this year given that iPhone 7 was essentially the only attractive option for buyers around Diwali last year, he added. "The Samsung Note 7 did not work for the market and had to be pulled off the shelves,'' Ghosal said. Google Pixel, which made its debut last year, is a growing franchise with bigger expectations from it this year," he pointed out. While the high-end models are creating the buzz, it will be the mid-range phones that will be moving the overall market, according to IDC's Singh.

"A majority of the Indian buyers opt for phones priced below $200 (Rs 13,000). These launches are all priced above $500 (Rs 32,500). The mid-segment and lower midsegment where many of the Chinese brands operate bring more volumes," he added. The July-September quarter is expected to usher a record high in smartphone sales after two quarters of slowdown due to demonetisation and GST implementation.

"Along with Chinese smartphones looking to increase their presence in the affordable flagship segment, Q3 is all set to be a record quarter in terms of number of smartphone shipments," said Patha.

In association with Mail Today Bureau

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