Through the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung has brought some trouble into the house. The overly ambitious product plan has had some disastrous consequences. Samsung could bring forward the release of the Galaxy S8 however, this would actually only have a marginal effect.
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Samsung had reportedly imposed an ambitious schedule on developers of the Note 7 in order to release the Note 7 on the market ahead of the iPhone 7. The logic behind this was: early sales of the Note 7 ahead of a marginally improved iPhone 7. Of course, all signs pointed to record sales. But it seems rather unlikely that this approach was what led to the Note 7 recall. Samsung did not comment on these reports but the rumor has gone viral.
The next high-end smartphone from Samsung will be the Galaxy S8 and Samsung is hanging its hopes on it. But the battery problems have produced some serious image damage to Samsung.
From a financial point of view, Samsung could jump on the idea of bringing the Galaxy S8 to the marketplace earlier than anticipated – analysts are expecting this move. But when should Samsung do it? Traditionally, Samsung presents its new Galaxy S smartphones each year at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. More important to know is when sales would start. In 2016, this happened around mid-March. This year, Samsung had a special advantage: there were no alternatives among the competition – neither HTC, Lenovo / Motorola, LG nor Sony had any big new offerings up their sleeves – so if anyone wanted a high-end catch shortly after MWC, their only option was the Galaxy S7. This undoubtedly gave Samsung an enormous advantage.
But back to the question: when? Samsung would have to once again win some sort of timely advantage with the Galaxy S8. This year, the situation is different: against the background of Note 7 rumors, an early presentation of the S8 would, of course, be critically assessed. A good opportunity would certainly be the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January: the first big tech event would be suitable as a launching stage. But everything points against Samsung daring to take this route: although Samsung would probably polish off the figures of the first (calendar) quarter of 2017, the move would probably not have a long-term advantage for the company. Ultimately, February is just not the time for hardware purchases.
There is only one scenario in which Samsung could undo the Note 7 debacle while simultaneously driving the company's sales figures up: Samsung would have to get the Galaxy S8 into stores for the Christmas shopping season. However, even this approach entails considerable risks: to compress the development schedule by several months could result in the Galaxy S8's appearance as an unfinished product. Samsung cannot risk this. Even then, Samsung would also probably have to fight the impression that the Galaxy S8 would have come to the market as a panic product.
Upon closer inspection, there is actually no sensible reason for Samsung to push for an early release of the Galaxy S8. That is why they should stay the course: let the MWC be the launch of the new generation Galaxy.
It remains to be seen whether Samsung can rescue the image of the Note 7. Maybe a reboot would help? J.J. Abrams could be responsible for this. As for Samsung's Christmas business, that may also end up being scarce.
What do you think? Can Samsung save itself from the Note 7? Or will Samsung play a risky game and bring the S8 out early? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!