Samsung has offered mid-tier and lower-end smartphones globally for years. However, there was never a substantial mid-tier smartphone push from Samsung in the U.S. market. All of that changed in April as Samsung introduced an expanded line up of A-series smartphones. There are six versions in the new A-series lineup with prices that range from $109.99 to $599.99.
The 2020 Galaxy A series focuses on offering the smartphone essentials at a variety of reasonable price points. For example, each A series device offers a multi-lens camera system with resolutions that a range of 12 to 64 megapixels. Cameras are one of the most important buying criteria for consumers. One of the exciting things is that many camera features found in its flagship smartphones such as multiple lenses, super steady feature and 4K video filming can found within the lineup. Additionally, the screens range in size from a 5.7in HD+ Infinity V display to a 6.7-inch Full HD+ Infinity-O AMOLED display. There is also a range of battery, RAM and expandable storage options.
5G for all
The real surprises in the lineup were the Galaxy A51 5G and A71 5G smartphones. Both of these products introduce 5G at a far more affordable price point. The A51 5G at $499.99 meets the price point of other mid-tier 5G smartphones, such as Motorola's Moto Z4. Meanwhile, the Galaxy 71 5G sports a 6.7" FHD+ Super AMOLED Plus Infinity-O display and a 64MP quad-camera system for $599.99. Samsung's goal is obviously to take 5G mainstream. Of course, there are nuances that consumers must be aware of in 5G. Given the smartphone's lower price point, it wasn't possible to put every type of 5G radio into a phone. As a result, if a consumer purchases a 5G phone for one operator's network, they may not be able to use the same smartphone if the consumer switches to another carrier's network.
Samsung's move is a sign of changing times.
Consumers are holding on to smartphones longer, up to 28 months. It's also becoming increasingly tricky for smartphone vendors to grow share as the premium smartphone segment prices topped $1,000. Segmentation becomes increasingly important in a mature smartphone market. It's critical for Samsung to create a product segmentation strategy that allows consumers to make the right tradeoffs between price and desired features. Given the time it takes to create and manufacture a smartphone, it's clear that Samsung forecasted an emerging need for a mid-tier smartphone product series many months ago.
Smartphones remain an essential purchase for many consumers. With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc with the global economy, there's never been a better time to introduce a set of lower-cost smartphone options. While consumers may aspire to purchase a flagship smartphone, their budget may demand a mid-tier phone. The expansion of the A series showcases how Samsung plans to address this market, particularly during a difficult time.
At this point, you may be asking why you'd need to upgrade to a more premium product. Flagship devices have notable differences such as processors that run A.I. models and of course, foldable materials. There's a right smartphone, for the right time, and the right buyer. There will always be a premium buyer. What Samsung needs is the ability to capture a wide swath of buyers.
The U.S. mid-tier market was scant and ill-defined. Last year's success of the Samsung A50 proved that there is a market for a mid-tier device and that it doesn't necessarily cannibalize the flagship smartphones. While other smartphone vendors may offer a cheaper midtier product, not everyone is going to have a quality line up. The great news about the A series launch is that consumers shouldn't feel they have to purchase a 2-year-old model to get something that's affordable.
Samsung's timing is right but Apple swooped in
As noted above, Samsung's timing is perfect for offering a range of middle-tier smartphones without compromises. However, it’s not the only company with that idea. The question remains will other low-cost products give Samsung a run for their money? Or will it just be Apple who swoops in with a high-quality competing product? Apple launched the new budget iPhone SE merely days after Samsung's launch, offering a compelling product in the space However, it's only one model. While Apple's product will successful, it's unclear what impact that will have on Samsung's sales. No matter what happens, mid-tier smartphones are a win for the consumer.