2015, Analysis, Business, Event, Hardware, Mobile World Congress

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Will Have a Problem at MWC 2015

Samsung (KRX: 005930) has had a rough go of it during the last year. The Korean electronics giant has posted consecutive quarter-over-quarter declines in profit, with its fabled electronics business at the center of the storm.

While there are a few reasons Samsung has failed to impress investors, the issue at the center of the mess was underwhelming sales of last year’s Galaxy S5 and Note 4. These phones were simply not that interesting: boring design and underwhelming specs kept them on shelves and out of the pockets of consumers.

Samsung Galaxy S6 specs

Like any high-profile mobile launch, the specs of the Samsung Galaxy S6 have been aggressively leaked during the past few months. While these specs are not confirmed here’s a rundown of the most promising leaks:

The flagship will have a QHD display which comes in at 1440×2560. This is a big upgrade from the full-HD screen of the Galaxy S5. The screen on the Galaxy Note 4, which is also a QHD variant, was highlighted as one of the best thus far on a mobile device, and it is looking likely that the same screen will be featured in the Galaxy S6 as well.

The actual chip used in the phone is not known at this time. It could be a Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) Snapdragon, but this is not likely as Qualcomm confirmed it had lost a “big customer”. The hardware that we’ll see powering the device will possibly be the 14nm Exynos 7 SoC Samsung announced earlier this year. That means that we’ll be seeing an octa-core CPU clocked at 2.1 GHz for the Cortex A57 cores and 1.5GHz for the Cortex A53 cores.

Also interesting to see will be whether the new flash memory modules — UFS 2.0 — will make their way onto the device. Current rumors suggest that that may indeed be the case, which would mean that the entry-level variant of the Galaxy S6 will feature 32GB memory, ditching the 16GB storage variant.

Considering Samsung makes the UFS 2.0 based storage modules in variants of 32, 64 and 128GB, it is likely we’ll see a 128GB version of the Galaxy S6.  It has been rumored that Samsung will stick with a 16MP variant on the device, with the sensor itself tweaked to take better images in low-light conditions.

The design of the device should be a continuation of what Samsung has undertaken thus far with the Galaxy A series, which suggests that we’ll see a metal finish on the sides of the device. Also, there are rumors suggesting that the Galaxy S6 would feature a glass back. Design-wise, the leaks thus far have failed to highlight any radical changes, although the addition of metal and glass would serve to better distinguish the Galaxy S6 as a high-end device (a facet that was severely lacking in the Galaxy S models of old).

Samsung Galaxy S6 pricing

In North America and Europe many carriers will be offering the Samsung Galaxy S6 at subsidized price points. For those that want to buy the phone off contract, here’s the expected pricing:

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 32 GB: $849
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 64GB:  $963
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 128 GB:$1,706

Will Galaxy S6 save Samsung?

Samsung is in a tough place right now. The company is feeling pressure from investors to improve its bottom line. There once was a time where Samsung was a scrappy underdog against a market dominated by Apple (NASDAQ: APPL). But this is no longer the case: Samsung has to compete with the likes of Xiaomi. Competition has never so intense.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 failed because it was underwhelming. There was no demand for a smartphone that was only an incidental upgrade from its predecessor.

It’s too early to tell just how well the Galaxy S6 will do. The phone’s rumored specs are not spectacular. While there’s a high degree of certainty that these will be the phone’s final specs, Samsung could throw in a wildcard and include something unforeseen it’s very likely what we see right now is what we get. With HTC (TPE: 2498) rumored to make heavy inroads into bettering the camera on the One M9, the Taiwanese vendor’s offering will seem like a more logical choice to more and more users given its aluminum design flair and the software-based features offered by the Sense UI. So far, there’s nothing too compelling from a price or performance standpoint about the Galaxy S6 that would suggest a change of fortunes for Samsung.