Commentary

Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 Has Become An 'Accidental' Open Secret

“Accidental” leaks of the design and features of the forthcoming Galaxy Note 9 purportedly have revealed just about everything that is to be known about the device that Samsung hopes will give it renewed momentum in its market-share battle not only with Apple’s iPhone X but also with cheaper competitors.

The official Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2018 event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday will tout “improved specs, camera updates and additional features, but it's unclear whether the device can win a multifront battle against Apple as well as lower-priced Android devices,” writes Larry Dignan for ZDNet

“One thing is certain: Samsung has a lot riding on the Note 9. The company pushed up the launch of the Note 9, which is best known for its S Pen stylus, because sales of its Galaxy 9 were slipping,” Dignan adds.

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One titillating leak — “a full-blown intro video” on Samsung’s New Zealand site — was noticed by Abhijeet Mishra on SamMobile a few days ago. “It’s clearly an accidental release, as there is not even a proper name for the video on YouTube. But it’s our first official look for sure, revealing the phone and the new S Pen in excruciating detail,” he writes. 

“As expected, Samsung is focusing on the golden/yellow S Pen, which will accompany the blue version of the phone. The video also tells us that a 512GB Galaxy Note 9 exists, but what’s interesting is that the phone also supports up to 512GB microSD cards, so users could have up to 1 terabyte of total storage on the device. It was only earlier this year that the Galaxy S9 officially introduced support for 400GB cards, and storage is clearly an important part of Samsung’s marketing push for its newest flagship,” Mishra continues.

The video was only up on the Samsung site for a few hours, but SamMobile has a copy of it.

Forbes contributor Gordon Kelly is a bit more skeptical about all the supposed mishaps. He gives credit to “acclaimed industry insider Evan Blass (aka @evleaks)” for spotting the video on the New Zealand site and writes: “This is now clearly deliberate. Samsung’s policy of ‘accidentally’ leaking its massive new Galaxy Note 9 has ranged from the strange to the ridiculous, but now the company has left nothing to the imagination….”

Another leak late yesterday apparently reveals the specs of the new device. 

“Unlike other leaks, this shows an official Samsung document with all the important facts and figures on display. The image comes from Russia where a retail box of the alleged Note 9 has been snapped,” writes Luke Edwards for the Express. “On the rear of the box is listed all the key stats about the handset. The much rumored new S Pen, for example, is listed simply as ‘S Pen with remote control.’”

Meanwhile, the Seoul, South Korea-based company is trying to navigate the waters of international trade made choppy by the costly trade war initiated by the Trump administration. China and the United States are its two top export partners, accounting for 40% of it revenue last year.

“Although Samsung has remained outwardly neutral, it has been busy lobbying and strategizing in both countries, according to analysts, hoping to protect its turf even as the rising trade tensions and protectionist policies create potential business opportunities,” writes Timothy W. Martin for the Wall Street Journal.

“In the U.S., which accounted for more than a quarter of Samsung’s 2017 revenue, the company has stepped up its Washington lobbying efforts. Last year, it spent $3.4 million, more than double its year-earlier splurge, according to a U.S. Senate database. This year, it has already spent $2.2 million in the first six months. Trade has been a prominent lobbying topic for Samsung, according to government filings.”

Meanwhile, Samsung appears to be proving the adage that the leaky wheel gets the attention.

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