Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8 Launches Approached With Greater Caution, Says Analyst

Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 iris scanner Fionna Agomuoh

The Samsung Galaxy S8 release date is expected to unfold very differently than the launches of older Galaxy flagships. While rumors suggest the device may make an appearance at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, details about the smartphone may not be officially announced until late March.

The latest Galaxy S devices are typically unveiled during MWC, but Samsung has pushed the Galaxy S8 launch to a later date to ensure the complete safety of the smartphone in the wake of the Galaxy Note 7 failure. Recent reports indicate Samsung may announce at MWC the date it will unveil the Galaxy S8 in a standalone event after it unveils the Galaxy Tab S3 tablet and Galaxy X smartphone. The Galaxy S8 Unpacked event is expected to take place March 29 in New York City and will likely precede an April 21 market launch for the device.

In recent years, Samsung has pushed to release its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note smartphones in earlier timeframes than previous models. A push to market for the Galaxy Note 7 may be what lead to the device’s ultimate demise and has likely now forced Samsung to be cognizant of trying to rush devices on the market before competitors.

“The [Galaxy Note 7] battery situation has changed that whole culture of let’s just be fast,” Wayne Lam, IHS Markit principal analyst for mobile electronics, told iDigitalTimes.

If rumored dates are accurate, the average time between the Galaxy S8 announcement and market launch may remain roughly at three weeks. This is similar to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, which were announced Feb. 21, 2016 and release March 10, 2016. The Galaxy Note 7 was announced Aug. 2, 2016 and released Aug. 19, 2016.

More dated devices, such as the Galaxy Note 4 were announced in early September and released globally on mid-October. However, the release of a revamped iPhone 6 in 2014 prompted Samsung to release the Galaxy Note 4 in select markets in late September. Subsequent devices then became subject to faster development periods and earlier release dates.

“People in the supply chain have said the designs were changing daily and they didn’t know which one they would finalize on until the show,” Lam told iDigi.

This came to a head with the Galaxy Note 7, which released in 2016 a full month ahead of the Galaxy Note 4 in 2014. Several reports have indicated that in pushing the Galaxy Note 7 release date up, Samsung lost valuable time to catch the fatal flaw in the device.

Moving forward, Samsung will likely focus less on being first to market and more on solid marketing scheme, based on making safety and quality assurance a primary objective.

“The overall culture has changed to where [Samsung has] to be a little more deliberate,” Lam said.

The expected launch for the Galaxy S8 is now more similar to the Galaxy S4, one of Samsung’s most popular devices to date. The Galaxy S4 was announced March 14, 2013 and released April 26, 2013.

With the Galaxy Note 8 expected to release later in 2017, Samsung may also have to find a balance between a launch schedule that allows for all the proper safety checks and completing with the upcoming 10th anniversary iPhone.

Though the Galaxy Note line does not directly compete with the iPhone, their release proximity makes the devices apparent rivals. The new iPhone is expected to have major upgrades and a marketing campaign to match, which could mean the Korean manufacturer may have to put forth a similar effort for its device.

Samsung may continue a late-summer launch schedule for the Note 8, Lam said.  

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