Samsung is the king of Android in China, and Android rules the biggest smartphone market in the world. However, not all’s rosy for the Korean company. Its market share has been constantly eaten into by local players, which are launching more and more affordable yet high-end smartphones. Samsung peaked at 24.3% of the Chinese smartphone market in the last quarter of 2011, and it’s been a downhill ride ever since.
Samsung isn’t planning to sit idly by and let the likes of Meizu, Xiaomi, Oppo, Coolpad, Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, and others steal its thunder. So the company is reportedly working on a high-end smartphone tailor-made for the Chinese market. This won’t get launched elsewhere, and it will be available on China Telecom (the country’s third largest carrier) sometime soon.
Interestingly, it will be a flip phone (clamshell). We don’t see this form factor much nowdays, when it seems like every mobile device out there is just a big slate covered almost entirely by a screen. But Samsung’s aiming to differentiate through form factor, something it’s done before (the vertically sliding featurephones from many years ago come to mind).
Samsung’s yet-unnamed device will come with two AMOLED touchscreens – one on the outside and one on the inside. They’ll both be 3.7 inches diagonally, and because of the screen on the outside, you’ll be able to use the flip phone like a ‘normal’ candybar touchscreen device. When you want to talk, you can flip it open. You surely get the idea.
The phone will also have two cameras – an 8 MP rear unit, as well as a 1.9 MP front-facing snapper. It will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Interestingly, the device is supposedly going to be endorsed by action movie legend Jackie Chen, via commercials and such. And that may be needed to boost Samsung’s brand status in China, where it had only 16.7% market share in the third quarter of this year (down almost 8% in just nine months, and 1% less than what was recorded in the previous quarter).
The flip phone that Samsung will launch in China will cost at least 1,000 yuan (that’s around $160). The Korea Times says 1 million yuan, but that’s clearly a typo. Since there aren’t any real high-end devices for sale right now in China under the 1,000 yuan mark, it’s safe to assume that this Samsung handset will cost more than that too.
Samsung is obviously hopeful that this device will be successful and will help it regain some of that lost market share. Let’s see if those hopes turn out to be realistic.