Designed from scratch in an operation dubbed “Project Zero”, the Galaxy S6 and its curved-edges variant are critical for Samsung’s plans to reverse decreasing smartphone revenues that led to its first annual earnings fall in three years in 2014.
A warm initial reception sent Samsung shares rising as much as 3.9% to its highest in nearly nine months. Some technology publications described the phones as Samsung’s best-looking to date.
“We listen to our customers and we learn from our missteps,” JK Shin, Samsung’s mobile chief, told a packed hall in Barcelona ahead of the annual Mobile World Congress trade show, where the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 edge were unveiled.
Samsung begins its fight-back on April 10 when the revamped Galaxy phones go on sale in 20 countries in one of the most important product launches in the company’s history.
Stand-out features include a casing made from lightweight metal used in airplanes, a step up from the plastic that was used on the S5, and Corning Inc’s Gorilla Glass on both front and back.
In addition to camera and screen upgrades, Samsung stripped out many of its unpopular in-house apps that. The new phones will be powered by Samsung’s own 64-bit, 14-nanometer Exynos processors, a departure from its previous reliance on Qualcomm Inc’s chips.
In another departure, batteries in the new phones cannot be replaced. To compensate, the devices are the first from Samsung to support wireless charging without a dedicated accessory and can also get four hours of power with a 10-minute charge by cord.
Samsung is also touting the Galaxy S6’s compatibility with a new mobile payments system it is preparing to launch in the United States and South Korea in the second half of this year.
The system, in partnership with major US banks and credit card companies including Visa and MasterCard, will allow users to make mobile payments through magnetic strip-card readers without an external accessory needed for other models. — Reuters