Samsung Electronics introduced two new Galaxy smartphones during its “Unpacked” event in New York, late Thursday (KST), with the company hoping that the models will help it regain momentum in the smartphone market there.
At the event, attended by around 1,100 members of the international media, it unveiled the Galaxy Note5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus (Edge Plus).
“The release of the Note5 and Edge Plus represents the company’s firm commitment to lead over rivals in the large-sized smartphone market,” Samsung Electronics co-CEO Shin Jong-kyun told participants.
“Samsung Electronics has put what it calls challenging and ambitious spirits in the two devices. We are confident that the two models will widen consumers’ choice of mobile devices,” he added.
The release of the models comes ahead of plans by rival Apple to introduce a new large-sized iPhone next month. Apple’s iPhones eroded Samsung smartphone sales amid a dramatic loss of Chinese market share.
During the second quarter of the year, operating profit at Samsung’s mobile division slid 38 percent to 2.76 trillion won, according to the company.
The Note5 features a design overhaul and improved hardware specifications than previous models.
Also, thanks to a peace treaty with Microsoft, the Note is embedded with Microsoft’s Office programs PowerPoint and Excel.
With an enhanced S-Pen, the Note5 allows users to capture lengthy documents and store data in a PDF format.
The Edge Plus has a 5.7-inch OLED screen and is 2 millimeters thickness. It has high-speed wireless and wired charging.
The two models will be available in four colors ― white pearl, black sapphire, gold platinum and silver titanium with two storage capacities ― 32 and 64 gigabytes.
Samsung said they will be available from later this month.
Shin said the mobile payment system Samsung Pay will be available from August 20 in Korea, followed by the United States on September 28.
Pay allows secure mobile payments to be made at participating shops and points of sale.
“Samsung has begun testing the Pay system with Korean card issuers since July. The company will receive feedback from consumers in Korea and the United States for about a month after the service’s availability,” the executive said.
The Pay system is embedded within the two models and the company plans to offer a free software upgrade to consumers using the S6 and S6 Edge.
Shin said the company was in discussions with leading credit card companies from American Express, Discovery, MasterCard, Visa, Bank of America, Chase, US Bank, NH Nonghyup, BC Card, Hana Card, Woori Card, Citi Card, Kookmin Card and Hyundai Card to promote the system.
For Samsung, stronger support from banks, especially in the United States where the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer is challenged by Apple, is needed to increase sales of its hardware and better compete with Apple in the heated race for a mobile payment system.
Apple Pay requires specialized near-field communication (NFC) pads to work, while Samsung’s system will work at any terminal with a standard magnetic stripe credit card reader or NFC.
This is because the system is built using technology acquired from the payments company LoopPay, which Samsung bought at the end of February.
LoopPay uses a tiny metal coil to generate a magnetic current to the credit card reader, unlike NFC, which requires users to tap a device against a specific compatible sensor. But some say there are doubts over LoopPay’s stability.