Manufacturer says it is leading the charge on virtual reality with Gear 360 camera
Samsung “stole the show” at Mobile World Congress with its unveiling of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge smartphones, 360-degree camera and updates to its virtual reality portfolio.
That is according to the manufacturer’s UK and Ireland president of mobile Conor Pierce, who was speaking to Mobile News following the manufacturer’s ‘Unpacked’ launch event in Barcelona on February 21, which attracted 2,000 attendees from around the world to one of the most hotly-anticipated events of the year.
Pierce expressed confidence in the new smartphones, based on what Samsung has experienced since the launch of last year’s releases – the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge.
He revealed that the number of people switching from a rival manufacturer to the S6 range is seven times more than it has experienced before.
Pierce said his focus in the UK is to continue to drive Samsung’s premium market share (which he declined to reveal) but despite last year’s success, is looking for more from the S7 and S7 edge smartphones.
Stolen the show
“We have stolen the show. We are introducing such great innovations back into the S7 and are trailblazing on the VR.
“The 360 cameras will really make this a mass market opportunity for VR and most importantly, Samsung is leading the charge on it.
“It’s a great point of differentiation for us and particularly in the UK, which is an extremely competitive market, and we’ll really leverage that across the entire channel.
“The market is seen as being flat in terms of total volume but the segment that is growing is premium. It is a tough market with limited growth but we are very focused on retaining our base and acquiring customers from major competitors.
“It is fatigued, so it is our responsibility to excite people and as well as the S7, the Gear VR is probably the single most exciting story at Mobile World Congress this year.”
Trumping the iPhone 6s
Pierce claimed the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge trump the Apple iPhone 6s in almost every aspect, labelling its camera “second to none” and stating the battery lasts almost twice as long [as the iPhone 6s] but can still be charged much quicker.
He also claimed that the opportunity for big success on these devices is high based on immediate Galaxy S5 users due for upgrade after purchasing the device from launch two years ago.
“The Galaxy S7 trumps the iPhone 6s in every major aspect. We’ve listened to customers to take on board their desires. They want a superior camera and this one is second to none across the whole smartphone market.
“The battery life on the S7 is 1.7 times bigger than the one on the iPhone 6s and the charge is 1.6 times faster (95 minutes versus 156 minutes). That will make a big impact.
“We have a unique asset in the market. We have made some really good inroads with our premium share in the
UK but equally important, we have a huge S5 base coming up for upgrade this year, so that’s a huge focus for us. Our competition can do their thing and that will bring some noise to the market but we won’t be distracted with that.”
Pierce admitted that it will be a challenge to make its own virtual reality offering a success in the UK, but claimed that its low pricing and the fact that Samsung has pioneered several other market segments holds it in good stead.
The Gear VR headset is priced at £79.99 as a standalone product, with Carphone Warehouse offering it for free with all pre-orders on the S7 smartphones with contracts from £36 per month.
“We’re the ones that introduced the smartwatch, smart things and phablet categories – we know what it takes to build categories but it won’t turn on a dime.
“There are 38,000 VR videos on YouTube to date and one million users on Facebook watching 360 content every day. We’re at the tip of the iceberg and we have to fuel that.
“If we want to get this mass market, it has to be affordable, and being priced at just £79.99 meets those requirements.
I really see this being an exciting change for the market.”