Galaxy has had a tough time in Japan. After facing severely diminished market share results at the hands of the iPhone and Sony’s Xperia brand, the company – known as Samsung overseas – has taken some drastic steps in 2015 to try and rebuild its brand. Steps have included stripping its Korean namesake off all products/advertising/social media, giving the Galaxy S6 away free on contract beginning this summer, and releasing just three mobile devices this year, with the most recent being the original Galaxy Active Neo. Today that number was bumped up to 6.
Galaxy has just announced three brand new products for Japan: the Gear S2, the Gear S2 Classic, and a Galaxy A8 variant – a Japan exclusive. Some had been waiting for news of key flagships like the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, or even the Galaxy Tab S2, but they will continue to remain elusive.
The Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic are the same devices which were launched by Samsung back in September. The Galaxy A8 was released back in July elsewhere with a Snapdragon 615 or Exynos 5430 SoC; the Japanese variant will include a Octa Core Exynos 5433 SoC with Mali T760 MP6 graphics instead. It will retail for 76,680 yen, or roughly $623.
The struggle continues
At this point in time, many readers and Samsung followers are well versed in the difficult situation facing the Korean conglomerate. Key markets where a stronghold was once assured – China and India – have seen market share erode at the hand of keen competitors who have severely cut costs yet released worthwhile hardware.
In the Land of the Rising Sun however, Galaxy Mobile Japan faces…something else. The end result is marketing such as this:
— Galaxy Mobile Japan (@GalaxyMobileJP) December 9, 2015
Once upon a time (i.e. prior to Spring 2015) reality would have been a bit different. The tweet and YouTube video, both posted by Galaxy Mobile Japan, would have been posted by Samsung Mobile Japan. The phone would have carried the Samsung branding on the back side. Unfortunately, all of this might potentially remind customers of the company’s Korean origins.
Galaxy’s 2015 mobile phone line-up in Japan to-date now consists of the Galaxy S6, the Galaxy S6 Edge, the Galaxy Active Neo, and the Galaxy A8. If you find that list a bit too brief, consider that LG didn’t release the G4 or V10 either, just a sole heavily modified offering called the isai Vivid. HTC for that matter, only released one Japanese carrier device this year.
While the situation makes sense given ever-dwindling market share and a resistant consumer base, it is still curious the extent to which Samsung has basically given up in Japan; to note it does not sell computers, cameras, appliances, or even televisions here. Even the display business is now finished as well, which means all it has is mobile.
Well, there is always 2016!