Samsung promises new phones will deliver more for less money

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SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) – Samsung’s next-generation smartphones will feature bigger screens, better cameras, and longer-lasting batteries at lower prices than last year’s lineup that released just before the pandemic will rock the economy.

The three Galaxy S21 phones unveiled at a virtual event Thursday will face some of the same challenges in an economy still hampered by a crisis that has left millions unemployed and forced millions more to do their jobs or to leave. go to school from their home.

But this time around, Samsung made some price adjustments that reflect the tough times.

All three phones will be cheaper than comparable models from last year, with discounts ranging from 7% to 20%. Part of the price drop comes from falling costs of making devices compatible with 5G wireless networks faster, but Samsung is also trying to make its devices more affordable for consumers who are struggling to make ends meet. said Drew Blackard, vice president of the South Korean company. product management.

“We’re always researching what’s going on in the market and trying to respond to it,” Blackard said.

Apple has also offered cheaper versions of iPhones in recent years, a trend that was amplified last year with the release in April of a model that sold for $ 400 and another scaled-down device released last fall that sells for $ 700 versus $ 1,100 for its last. high-end model

Samsung quickly learned how the pandemic could reshape the smartphone market when last year’s Galaxy S20 models hit stores in the United States last March, as lockdowns shut down large swathes of the economy and Unemployment rates were at their highest level since the Great Depression. almost a century ago.

The slowdown reduced demand for the Galaxy S20 lineup, contributing to a 29% year-over-year drop in Samsung smartphone shipments for the April to June period, according to research firm International Data Corp . The plunge temporarily threw Samsung off its perch as the world’s top smartphone seller, but the company picked up the torch from Chinese Huawei after its shipments rebounded during the July-September period.

But the crisis prompted Samsung to release a lower-cost phone called the Galaxy S20 FE in October, which was not in the company’s original plans last year, Blackard said. That model sold for $ 700, down from the $ 1,000 price Samsung set for its cheaper standard Galaxy S20.

In this year’s lineup, the standard Galaxy S21 phone will start at $ 800, a 20% reduction from last year’s comparable model. The latest fine Galaxy will feature a new design for the camera modules, with more photography options, increased privacy controls, and a battery that Samsung promises will last at least a day before needing to be recharged.

The other two phones have slightly larger screens in addition to a few other bells and whistles not offered on the base model. The Galaxy S21 Plus will sell for $ 1,000, a 17% reduction from last year’s comparable model, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra will sell for $ 1,300, down $ 100 from the comparable model of the year. last.

And the Ultra model will become the first Galaxy S phone capable of running a Samsung stylus which will be sold separately to allow users to draw digitally on the screen. Previously, Samsung had only designed the stylus for its Galaxy Note models which catered to buyers who use these devices primarily for work rather than entertainment and recreation.

All three phones will be available in stores on January 29, although they can be pre-ordered.

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