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Samsung’s budget smartphones poised for Korean market debut

Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone-maker by sales volume, is scheduled to release a series of mid- to low-end Android-based smartphones, including the Galaxy A5 and A7, in Korea this week in an effort to maintain its grip on the global smartphone market.

Boasting Samsung’s first fully metal smartphone body, the A5 features a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, along with a 5-inch high-definition super AMOLED display, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and 2,300 mAh battery, industry sources said. 
Samsung Electronics’ budget smartphone A5, which is scheduled to roll out in the Korean market this week. (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung Electronics’ budget smartphone A5, which is scheduled to roll out in the Korean market this week. (Samsung Electronics)

Showing off the world’s slimmest body, measuring at 6.3 mm, the A7 will be equipped with a 5.5-inch full HD display, an octa-core (1.5 GHz quad-core and 1 GHz quad-core) processor and 2,600 mAh battery.

The Seoul-based tech giant has already released the Galaxy A models in markets including India and China in hopes of dominating the emerging markets.

Samsung’s Tizen-based Z1 smartphone, which was released last week in India, is also the latest model of the firm’s low-cost lineups that are expected to boost its global sales.

“As the global smartphone market now revolves around those low- and mid-range products, Samsung’s latest cheaper smartphones will play an important role for the Korean company to increase its market share,” said Song Myung-sub, said an analyst from HI Investment & Securities.

Other analysts said the release of the affordable smartphones are aimed at filling the void before the tech giant unveils its flagship Galaxy S6 in March.

Chinese smartphone makers such as Xiaomi and Huawei are playing catch-up with the Korean smartphone-maker and the California-based Apple by putting their resources into relatively untapped smartphone markets, including India and countries in Southeast Asia.

Xiaomi, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, launched last week its Mi Note and Mi Note Pro phablets to rival Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 and Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus.

Featuring similar specifications of their rival products but with much lower price tags, the Note and the Note Pro are expected to deal a huge blow to both Samsung and Apple.

The Chinese tech firm also announced its plan to expand its footprint in India by releasing its flagship smartphone Mi4 this month, which features a 5-inch screen, 2.5 GHz quad-core processor, 13 MP rear-facing camera, 8 MP front camera and 3,080 mAh battery.

Xiaomi beat Samsung to top the Chinese smartphone market in the second quarter last year with a 15 percent market share, versus the Korean firm’s 12 percent, according to research institute Canalys.

In India, Samsung maintained the top spot with a 24 percent market share, followed by the local brand Micromax with 20 percent, in the third quarter last year.

By Kim Young-won (