Samsung Electronics Co., South Korea's tech powerhouse, expects record-breaking sales of its new flagship Galaxy S6 smartphones, its mobile chief said Thursday, as the company strives for a rebound after posting its weakest earnings in three years last year.
Samsung said it anticipates shipments of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge to surpass the sales of the Galaxy S4, Samsung's biggest hit in its smartphone history.
"We expect (the figure) will be a lot higher, compared with the Galaxy S5 last year or its preceding model," Shin Jong-kyun, the head of Samsung Electronics' mobile division said at a media event held at its Seoul office earlier in the day.
Shin declined to give details on the sales target for the new Galaxy S6 phones.
Market analysts forecast that Samsung will sell 56 million units of the Galaxy S6 series this year, far surpassing the 45 million units of Galaxy S4 estimated to have been sold in 2013 when it went on sale.
Samsung does not release exact shipment figures for its handsets. The analysts predict that Samsung has shipped out about 70 million Galaxy S4 handsets so far.
The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge will hit shelves in 20 countries Friday, starting in South Korea, the United States, Britain and Germany, and expand gradually to other regions.
Its first mobile payment tool, Samsung Pay, which was initially introduced along with the new Galaxy models, will be available for downloading starting in July, it added.
The local release of the Galaxy S6 series marks the last stage of Samsung's rare worldwide tour for new flagship models, which took place in Dubai, Russia, China and Brazil, and a few other countries.
The new phones are critical for Samsung as their performance will tell whether the world's largest phonemaker can recover from its first profit decline in three years in 2014, and reclaim its edge as the world's top smartphone maker.
Shin said his staff worked from scratch to create the new Galaxy phones, pointing out that the Galaxy S6 and its curved-edge variant are the outcome of "going back to the basics."
"Making everyday functions more handy and useful for consumers and creating what is needed most at this moment rather than trying to get ahead of rivals, is what we believe was a sincere innovation," he said at the media event.
The new Galaxy phones, first showcased at the Mobile World Congress in Spain in early March, have since received positive market responses from around the world for their sleek design and upgraded specs.
Their metal-clad casings and unremovable batteries -- a departure from the use of plastic and replaceable batteries in previous models -- led critics to give high marks to Samsung as it ditched some of its signature designs for a product revamp.
The new Galaxy models also come with a wireless charging function, for which users need a special mat that recharges the phone without a plug-in cord.
Regarding the so-called "Bendgate" dispute over the Galaxy S6 Edge, Shin dismissed such concerns by stressing that the aluminum and Corning's Gorilla glass used in the frame are of an outstanding quality.
"(It) resists a considerable fall. (It) can't be bent with human strength."
He admitted that the supply of the S6 Edge may be tighter than the S6, given higher demand for the curved-edge phone, and promised to improve the supply channels as soon as possible.
In Korea, a 32GB Galaxy S6 will be sold for 858,000 won ($785), with a Galaxy S6 Edge with the same capacity priced at 979,900 won. Local mobile carriers began to take preorders for the new Galaxy handsets early last week. (Yonhap)