For consumers there is a lot to look forward to in the premium smartphone segment with both Apple and Samsung planning to launch their respective phones in India, ahead of the upcoming festive season. Apple is likely to launch the iPhone 8 in the US on September 12, and the buzz is that India could be in the first wave of countries to get the the smartphone given that Diwali is just round the corner.
If Apple is betting big on India, its South Korean rival isn’t far behind in the race for high-end smartphone success in India. Samsung on the other hand plans to launch the Galaxy Note 8 in the second week of September, with sales expected to begin in the last week of the month. The company has already started accepting registrations for the same in the country, hinting at the imminent launch of its new flagship.
Both smartphones are much-awaited, as they will usher in a number of new features. The top-end iPhone 8 model is likely to be Apple’s first smartphone with a bezel-less design, similar to the Galaxy S8+ and the Essential smartphone, made by Android Creator Andy Rubin. The smartphone is also said to feature an OLED screen, wireless charging, fast performance, better dual cameras, and an integrated augmented reality technology.
“The ultra-premium segment in India has always been dominated by Samsung and Apple,” says Shobhit Srivastava, Research Analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems, Counterpoint Research. “With the launch of its Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus devices in Q2 2017, Samsung has taken the lead from Apple in the quarter. The tables can turn with the launch of the much-anticipated iPhone 8 this month. There is a lot of pent-up demand for the anniversary edition iPhone and if priced correctly, it could be a homerun for Apple in India as well.”
It’s not just Apple. Samsung is positioning the Galaxy Note 8 as a productivity device, and its key features include: a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED “Infinity Display,” with an edge-to-edge screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB RAM, dust and water resistance, Iris scanner, a dual-camera setup, and the iconic S-Pen stylus.
“Samsung will be taking on the Apple iPhone 8 with its new Note 8 smartphone. Unlike other parts of the globe, in India Samsung did not face any hardship due to the Note 7 incident since the devices were pulled off from the market very early. The powerful new Note device is only going to do better for the company in the ultra-premium segment,” he added.
Pricing could be a deciding factor for the success of the Apple iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Historically, Apple has never sold its flagship smartphone model for a discounted price in India. In the case of the iPhone 8, Apple will charge a premium, appealing to India’s upper middle-class. Rumour has it that the next-generation iPhone, which marks the tenth-anniversary of the iPhone, could cost more than the previous generation iPhone 7 Plus. The high-price of the iPhone 8 could be directly linked to premium features. In the US, the iPhone 8 is expected to cost $999 (or approx Rs 63,761) for the base model, while the top-end model could cost as high as $1400 (or approx Rs 89,355).
The Galaxy Note 8 is Samsung’s most expensive smartphone till date. In the US, the Note 8 is priced at $930 (or approx Rs 59,357) for the base variant. A similar pricing structure is likely to be followed by Samsung in India. The Galaxy Note 8 is likely to cost Rs 69,900 for the 64GB model, while the 128GB model at Rs 74,900. One thing is for sure, Samsung will charge more for the Note 8 than what the company charged for the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7, which was launched at Rs 59,900.
The buzz for both iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8 are relatively high in the market. Manish Khatri of Mahesh Telecom, a Mumbai-based mobile phone retailer, believes people are having a lot of expectations from the upcoming model of the iPhone. The retailer says if the camera and other features are really better than the iPhone 7 Plus, chances are, iPhone 8 can win the heart of many iPhone lovers. He, however, cautioned that the success of the iPhone 8 will entirely depend upon the price.
While the Galaxy Note 7 was a massive embarrassment for Samsung, it might not have a huge impact on the the Galaxy Note 8, according to a sources in Samsung’s dealership network. People have already started enquiring about the Galaxy Note 8 and the number is likely to go up as the launch date comes closer. Ahead of the launch of the Note 8 in India, Samsung has corrected the price of the Galaxy S8+, which is now available for Rs 70,900, down from Rs 74,900. This is the model with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.
Other than Apple and Samsung, another vendor likely to launch a flagship in India in coming days is LG with the V30. There’s no word yet on how much the LG V30 smartphone will cost in the Indian market.