Mobile Handset Makers Exploit Weakness of Samsung

Worldwide makers of mobile handsets are taking advantage of the gap Samsung has left in the market as the South Korea based electronics giant continues to recover from its costly recall of the Galaxy Note 7 its flagship handset.

Huawei, based in China, the contender most likely to fill the gap for premium handsets left open by Samsung, unveiled a new smartphone as it attempts to unseat Samsung from its No. 2 spot in world sales behind Apple.

The unveiling was during a rush of releases of new products on Sunday, which was prior to the World Mobile Congress opening this week.

Xiaomi another challenger from China along with Gionee, Vivo and Oppo are all hotly pursuing Samsung, while Blackberry and Nokia announced new models that exploit a retro appeal.

Samsung unveiled two new tablets prior to the launch of the Galaxy S8, its latest flagship device that is expected for late March rather than at this week’s Congress where it usually unveils new flagship products.

Samsung withdrew its Note 7 in October of last year after batteries led some of the devices to catch fire. That led to a loss of trust and confidence by the consumer and wiping out over $5 billion in its operating profit.

In turn, Apple’s iPhone took the lead in worldwide sales.

CEO of Huawei, Richard Yu said the competition will be strong but he feels the company has a good shot of taking the No. 2 spot from Samsung.

Samsung’s share of the smartphone market fell during the fourth quarter of 2016 to 17.7%, while Apple’s increased to just over 17.8%, showed data from Strategy Analytics.

One research analyst in the industry said he doubts if Samsung can regain its No. 1 position quickly.

The hit it took in profits of over $5.4 billion was huge and even though it has apologized for its shortcomings, the full effects of the issue with the faulty batteries might not have fully hit yet, said the analyst.

In a recent Harris Poll in the U.S., the reputation of Samsung has dropped from No. 7 to No. 42, placing in just above the country’s Postal Service.

Huawei on the other hand has expanded in an aggressive way its mid- and high-end smartphones and is battling both Samsung and Apple in Europe and Asia for the premium handset market.

Huawei, which was known before as a telecom networks builder and has been a phone market just during the current decade, has expressed its ambition to be the No. 2 maker in the world.

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