Samsung tries to crash the iPhone X party

On the day of Apple’s big smartphone event Samsung managed to get a bit of coverage of its own, which is no small feat.

Samsung can only dream of having every aspect of its product launches exhaustively covered in the way Apple’s are. Gadget sites typically manage 20+ stories from a single launch event as covetous consumers crave every tiny morsel of detail about the new shiny things. Samsung events get a fair bit of coverage but nowhere near as breathless and detailed.

The tech world is still working out what it thinks about the new Apple launches, and you can read our perspective here. But Samsung seems to have decided to try to remind everyone that Apple isn’t the only company that can innovate.

The Associated Press reported on a Samsung press event at which Koh Dong-jin, president of the mobile business at Samsung Electronics, said his company might launch a bendable phone next year. He immediately hedged his position by saying there are still some technical details to be ironed out, inferring that if they are not resolved then the launch won’t happen.

This seems like a classic piece of counter PR. Samsung has been playing around with flexible screens for years and, since there is still no hard date commitment, it could have made this announcement at any time.

The main premise of the event, it seems, was to announce the Galaxy Note 8 to the Korean market and Samsung sought to pour further water on Apple fever by going on about how well the Note 8 is doing. This is in many ways Samsung’s equivalent of the iPhone X and, it should be noted, isn’t a whole lot cheaper.

The big news, as also reported by the FT, is that demand for the Note 8 is exceeding expectations. You could be forgiven for observing that expectations might have been on the low side when you consider that its predecessor had a tendency to spontaneously combust, which had a somewhat detrimental effect on demand.

In fact Samsung showed some corporate balls in sticking with the Note brand at all, so tarnished was it 11 months ago, but it seems gadget-lovers’ memories are short and all has been forgiven. Having said that the devices won’t find their way into the wild until the end of this week and Samsung execs must be crossing everything that none of them go up in smoke.

But this isn’t about surpassing meagre expectations. The first five days of pre-orders for the Note 8 have apparently registered 2.5-times the sales volume of the Note 7. The message from Samsung is clear: bring it on Apple.

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