Samsung Galaxy S8 lacks 'attractive selling points': Analyst

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge smartphone is on display at the Samsung booth during CES 2017.
Photo: AFP

Samsung's forthcoming flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S8, "lacks sufficiently attractive selling points," meaning Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 8 could be a bigger draw for consumers, a prominent Apple analyst said in a note over the weekend.

Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has made several correct predictions in the past about Apple, and his latest bit of research, obtained by 9To5Mac, suggested the Galaxy S8, which is set to be revealed on March 29, won't sell as well as the previous Galaxy S7.

The analyst projects Galaxy S8 shipments of 40 to 45 million units in fiscal-year 2017, which would be lower than the approximately 52 million Galaxy S7 units shipped in 2016. Kuo said this is attributable to a one-month difference in comparable sales period.

But the Galaxy S7 was also Samsung's only flagship smartphone last year after the Note 7 debacle in which the devices caught fire, prompting a recall and scrapping of the handset. This helped sales of the Galaxy S7, thereby making comparable sales tougher this year for the Galaxy S8.

However, Kuo also said that the iPhone 8 could prove more attractive to consumers.

"As Galaxy S8 lacks sufficiently attractive selling points (except full-screen design), the OLED iPhone could well be a bigger draw for consumers," the note said, according to 9to5Mac.

Read also: Samsung blames Galaxy Note 7 fires on faulty batteries

OLED refers to organic light-emitting diode displays. The current iPhone 7 has an LCD or liquid crystal display. Experts say that OLED offers a number of advantages over LCD including brighter displays and better power efficiencies. Kuo has said previously that the upcoming iPhone models would feature wireless charging as well as a front camera with the ability to capture 3-D images for augmented reality features.

Samsung's Galaxy S8 is rumored to have a screen that takes up a much larger area of the front of the phone than the S7, as well as improved processors and camera.

It's a crucial year for both Apple and Samsung. The South Korean electronics giant will be hoping the Galaxy S8 can help consumers forget about the Note 7 saga last year, and boost its mobile business amid stiffer competition from the likes of Huawei. For 2016, sales in Samsung's mobile division fell 3 per cent year-on-year, though operating profit ticked up slightly. Apple meanwhile saw a decline in sales for its last fiscal-year and will be hoping that the iPhone 8 can give it a boost.

An Apple spokesperson was not available for comment when contacted by CNBC about the speculation in the KGI note.

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