The Korea Herald


Samsung speeding up schedule for new flagship smartphones

Industry forecasts Galaxy Note 9 to debut in late July, Galaxy S10 in January and first foldable smartphone in February

By Song Su-hyun

Published : May 16, 2018 - 17:43

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South Korean tech titan Samsung Electronics seems to be speeding up the schedule for new flagship smartphones slated for launch later this year and 2019, according to industry sources on Wednesday.

Local part suppliers for Samsung’s upcoming flagship phones deem that the top Korean smartphone maker is preparing to unveil their flagship phones slightly earlier than previous years for various reasons, including low sales of the latest Galaxy S9 series, according to multiple sources.

According to the display industry, Samsung Display began mass production of 6.38-inch organic light-emitting diode displays for the Galaxy Note 9 in April, about two months earlier than before.

Considering the earlier-than-expected panel production, Samsung is likely to roll out the upcoming flagship model as early as August, one month earlier than it did for the Note 8 series last year.

Samsung has been introducing two flagship Galaxy phones mostly in March and August for the past years. 

Samsung Electronics' head of smartphone business Koh Dong-jin introduces Galaxy S9 and S9+ in February. (Samsung Electronics) Samsung Electronics' head of smartphone business Koh Dong-jin introduces Galaxy S9 and S9+ in February. (Samsung Electronics)

The reasons why Samsung would launch the Note 9 earlier than before are unconfirmed, but industry officials assume the Galaxy S9 series phones are selling much poorer than expected, despite its early release in March.

Some other officials consider it as Samsung’s strategy to be unaffected by Apple’s timeline for new products -- the second edition of iPhone SE in June and successor of iPhone X in September -- is to be launched in the second half of the year.

The new iPhones for 2018 are also forecast to be unveiled one or two months in advance compared to last year, as Korean panel suppliers have decided to start production of OLED panels this month.

Along with the predictions about the early launch of the Note 9, rumors are circulating that Samsung is preparing to announce the Galaxy S10 at the Consumer Electronics Show 2019 in January, while using the Mobile World Congress 2019 in February to unveil its first foldable smartphone.

“Codenamed as ‘Beyond,’ the 10th edition of Galaxy S series project is underway as Samsung has embarked on discussing adoptions of various new technologies such as in-display fingerprint sensing with its suppliers,” an industry source said.

Supply of flexible display panels for the first Samsung foldable smartphone is expected to begin in November, according to some news reports.

“It would take two to three months to assemble the parts, so the first foldable phones may be able to debut around February,” the source said.

Samsung declined to confirm the timeline for new products.

“The internal atmosphere is not much different compared to last year for early launches,” a Samsung official said. “There are a lot of co-works underway with outside part suppliers to develop various prototypes. Their supply timing wouldn‘t determine our schedules for new launches.”

By Song Su-hyun (