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Samsung to release budget handsets with premium features

Next budget handsets to feature fingerprint sensor, mobile payments

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Published : 2015-11-18 17:27
Updated : 2015-11-18 17:31

Samsung Electronics plans to churn out mid- and low-end handsets with higher-end features including its mobile payment system Samsung Pay and fingerprint scanners, according to sources Wednesday.

“Samsung is planning to deploy fingerprint sensors in budget smartphone models,” an industry source said.

The official, however, did not specify the timeframe of the release or further details.
 
Samsung Electronics‘ Z1 smartphone running on the Tizen operating system. (Yonhap)

Only a handful of high-end models, including the Samsung Galaxy S series, the latest Note lineup and some of the Galaxy A models, sport the swipe or area fingerprint sensors utilized to unlock the handsets and authenticate users for mobile applications.

A major obstacle for the adoption of the biometric sensor in the affordable handsets will be price, according to the source.

The plan is part of Samsung’s efforts to expand best-in-class features into the firm’s lower-end smartphones.

Samsung tops 14 out of 15 emerging smartphone markets including Indonesia, Turkey, and Egypt, according to market researcher Strategic Analytics.

The company’s market shares in Turkey, Romania, the Netherlands and Portugal stood at more than 40 percent. In Egypt, Samsung scooped up a 53 percent market share.

Market analysts attributed Samsung’s robust performance in the markets to the budget Galaxy smartphone lineups.

Samsung Pay is another eye-catching function expected to be found in mid- and low-end smartphones to be released as early as the first half of next year.

Hwang Min-sung, an analyst from Samsung Securities, forecast that Samsung would surely install the payment system, which is compatible with both traditional magnetic stripes and Near Field Communication terminals, on its budget models running on Google’s Android operating system.

Samsung officials have often mentioned the expansion of the mobile payment technology in a wider range of products.

The tech behemoth is also reportedly planning to introduce high-end Tizen smartphones, which some market watchers said would sport Samsung Pay.

Samsung’s two Tizen handsets -- Z1 and Z3 -- received a positive response from consumers in emerging markets including India.

Hwang, however, cast doubt on the success of Tizen smartphones featuring Samsung Pay, saying, “Tizen smartphones with the mobile payment function would have little impact on the market.”

Samsung’s latest wearable Gear S2 running on the Tizen OS is fitted with the contactless payment system, but users can make purchases only through the NFC technology.

Tizen is a Linux-based operating system codeveloped by an alliance of global tech firms including Samsung and chipmaker Intel.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)