The Galaxy S6 and its dual curved display sibling, the Galaxy S6 Edge, were announced in early March and went on sale a month later but has struggled to meet Samsung’s own reported internal targets. Samsung’s current best selling flagship smartphone in a calendar year is 2013’s Galaxy S4 which managed to sell 45 million units. It’s successor, the Galaxy S5, was in many cases underwhelming and didn’t match up to the set record. The Galaxy S6 featuring better specifications and a radical new design approach from Samsung was expected to be the device that will top the S4. Korean media reports that Samsung had an internal target of 70 million units. We just heard that the said target has since been revised to 45 million as things are not looking up for the 2015 flagship.
There could be many reasons as to why the Galaxy S6 is not selling as imagined. Market saturation could be one of them. Samsung has been selling tens of millions of its flagship Galaxy S lineup for the last several years. At times, there’s no desperate need to always get the latest and the greatest. I mean, if you still have a fully functional Galaxy S5 (which has a good camera and a world-beating crisp display) why would you just ditch it for a more expensive Galaxy S6 that you’ll use for pretty much the same things?
Never mind that the S6, unlike the S5, doesn’t have expandable memory and a removable battery, the two features that had come to define Samsung smartphones from the competition at the top like Apple’s iPhone. Also, the Galaxy S6 lacks Ingress Protection. You’ll need to turn to the AT&T only Galaxy S6 Active for something to take underwater selfies with next time you’re in Dubai.
Contracts. Could it be that most people’s contracts aren’t up yet where it matters to upgrade to the Galaxy S6? Maybe, maybe not.
There’s also what the competition offers. The market has matured. While HTC is having its bad days after making an underwhelming flagship, the One M9, others like LG were not fooling around. The LG G4 is a world beater. Not only has it been breaking useless records for the things like most selfies taken, it is a proven workhorse in not just raw power but overall performance. Then the rise of the Chinese OEMs and their flagship class smartphones at midranger prices. Samsung executives will quickly tell you that these don’t make them lose sleep at night but we all know how that story goes.
About the competition, there’s Apple. Apple finally gave in and introduced large iPhones last year. There were quite a number of lost sheep who had wandered away from the herd and into the Android shed thanks to the allure of big smartphones. They wanted these but Apple seemed to be dragging its feet. It made slow steps. From its insistence that 3.5 inches was the right size for a smartphone display and that anything above that was ridiculous to the backtracking it did with the iPhone 5s’ 4 inch display to the eventual giving in: the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
With just a single announcement and more appealing propositions like the Apple Watch that would only work with iOS devices, Apple managed to attract the proverbial one lamb that had wandered away from the herd. The one lamb that Samsung was chasing after just became even harder to get.
What does that mean for the company?
For starters, Samsung has stuck with a religious predictable update cycle since the first Galaxy S smartphone was announced. Though announcement dates have moved from the second quarter of the year to the first, so as to one-up the competition (LG, HTC and the like were launching their flagships earlier), we are at least guaranteed a Galaxy S device hitting the market between the time Mobile World Congress takes place and the time May sets in. Is that going to change in the wake of the company missing its Galaxy S6 sales target?
Samsung has always been clear that it competes at the very top. Where Apple is. Apple also has a somewhat religious update cycle for its iPhones. September-October is always time for a new piece of metal with fruit branding. News from Korean media outlets indicate that Samsung could as well be keen on having its flagship devices released around the same time as the new iPhones so as to better compete with Apple’s very latest.
But we have the Galaxy Note launching at around that time, right? Yeah. And we’d be anticipating new Nexus devices either from LG or Huawei or both to showcase the power of Android M.
This sounds ridiculous, we know. And we almost believe it is but strange things have happened before and they won’t be stopping.
Moments after we published this, we got new privileged information. The device in question won’t be the Galaxy S7. It will be something close. Samsung has apparently been working on a successor to the popular Galaxy S6 Edge. Version 2 of the Galaxy S6 Edge is what is coming.