Samsung goes 'big' with Galaxy S5 in SA

2014-04-14 09:36
Samsung Galaxy S5. (Lluis Gene, AFP)

Samsung Galaxy S5. (Lluis Gene, AFP)

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Cape Town - Samsung is going big with the New Galaxy in South Africa - and by big, we mean the price.

As the South Korean electronics giant prepares to release the Galaxy S5 in the country, it is not holding back on the recommended retail price.

The S5 comes with a R10 299 price tag - significantly higher than the previous models.

While the exchange rate has no doubt played a role in the nose-bleeding price, it is also an indicator of a trend where mobile device manufacturers have diverged on price to consumers.

Some manufactures like Samsung, Sony, HTC and Apple are engaged in a pitch battle for the high-end market as the cost of devices have regularly touched and exceeded the $1 000 price point.

Mature markets

Research firm Gartner said that while smartphones will continue to be the engine of the mobile market, much of that growth will come from mid-tier devices.

"Mobile phones, the largest segment of the overall device market, are expected to reach 1.9 billion units in 2014, a 4.9% increase from 2013. The growth in 2014 is projected to come from the lower end of the premium phone market and the higher end of the basic phone market," the company said.

This is largely in part to a flattening in mature markets like North America and Europe.

On the other hand, lower prices devices are seeing widespread adoption, particularly in developing markets and this opens the door for exponential growth for manufacturers like Huawei, Lenovo, ZTE and Hisense.

Unlike developed markets, most phones in SA are bought by prepaid customers who have to put down the cash up front for the devices.

The evidence for lower end growth comes largely from the fact that several manufacturers have released "mini" versions of flagship models at lower price points.

Samsung's cheapest Galaxy model cost around R899, though it understandably lacks some of the high end features of its bigger brother.

Watch our review on the Samsung Galaxy S5 here:



Features


The South Korean company also updated the Galaxy Gear and sells the second version for R4 299.

Samsung has also sweetened the deal for the S5 with a selection of apps designed to attract increasingly demanding mobile customers.

A partnership with Mutichoice has produced the DSTV BoxOffice application which allows devices owners to rent DStv movies for R25, and R30 if they are not DStv subscribers.

Similar to what Nokia has offered its Lumia customers with MixRadio, Samsung has included nMusic wit the S5. The app allows users to listen to music from a database of 20 million tracks and available offline.

The Galaxy S5 is expected to be launched in SA within weeks and mobile operators Cell C and Vodacom are offering the device at R469 on a 24 month contract.

Some objected to the S4, saying the features were too much of a gimmick, rather than useful to consumers. Samsung believes that it has eliminated that criticism with the S5.

"The Galaxy S5 provides consumers with a number of unique features that are easily tailored an individual's requirements," said Craige Fleischer, director of Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics SA.


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