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Last Updated : Oct 12, 2016 04:35 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Rivals take 'Note': Samsung's loss is a gain for Apple, Google

As the crucial October-December festive season kicks in, premium smartphone players have a big opportunity. Every Samsung Note 7 not sold, technically, could potentially be an Apple iPhone 7 variant, a Google Pixel smartphone or even any other premium smartphone.


Chaitanya Gudipaty
Moneycontrol


In what could be one of the major product failures in the history of smartphones, Samsung has finally decided to scrap Galaxy Note 7. The company is now stuck between a rock and a hard place as it has no premium smartphone to bank on during the October-December festive season.


Not only will pulling the plug on its flagship device hurt Samsung’s brand image globally, the South Korean chaebol will also have to firefight the loss of market share to the likes of Apple and Google which are going full throttle on iPhone 7 and Pixel models.

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While Apple has already begun selling iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models in India, Google will start taking pre-orders for Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones from October 13. 

Some reports suggested that Samsung was gearing up for an India launch for Note 7 a few days before Diwali.


Clarity needed to retain brand image


Samsung had recalled about 2.5 million Note 7s early September, hinting at a possible battery problem, following numerous reports that the phones caught fire.
The move to provide customers with replacement devices too failed as Note 7 explosions continued prompting Samsung to call off the production and it was curtains for Note 7.


The company is offering a full refund to Note 7 buyers. What remains elusive after all the recalls, software fixes and replacements, however, is the absence of an exact reason for the faulty devices. The inconspicuous absence of the reason in the company’s statement indicates that even it may not be aware why Note 7s are exploding.


Samsung needs to explain to customers what went wrong to contain the dent on its brand image, regain credibility and restrict any potential spill-over effect into its expansive line-up of devices.


Opportunity for premium players


As the crucial October-December festive season kicks in, premium smartphone players have a big opportunity. Every Samsung Note 7 not sold, technically, could potentially be an Apple iPhone 7 variant, a Google Pixel smartphone or even any other premium smartphone.


In the Rs 50,000-plus category, a few devices like HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge are premium Android devices. While there is the reliable Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, customers would want to opt for the newest kid on the block such as Pixel or iPhone 7. It would be hard for Samsung to woo customers with S7 Edge or bring in a new flagship at such a short notice.


Even if Samsung figures out what went wrong with Note 7, assuring customers about safety and making them choose it will be a tough task. It can take lessons on regaining credibility from Nestle which bounced back from the Maggi fiasco recently.


Till then, Samsung will have to make do with what it has — a good line-up of devices in the Rs 10,000-30,000 category.



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First Published on Oct 12, 2016 03:12 pm
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