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Rumor: Galaxy Note 3 to launch earlier than expected in order to make up for poorer Galaxy S4 sales

A new report suggests that Samsung may be interested in launching the Galaxy Note 3 earlier than expected, to make up for the poorer Galaxy S4 sales.
June 20, 2013
Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy Note 2
Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy Note 2

A new report suggests that Samsung may be interested in launching the Galaxy Note 3 earlier than initially planned, in order to compensate for poorer than expected Galaxy S4 sales.

Galaxy Note 3 – a savior?

Unfortunately, it’s not clear when the Galaxy Note 3 would be announced and when it would hit stores. Earlier rumors suggested that the handset would arrive in September at IFA 2013 in Berlin, Germany, just like its predecessor did, but at least one recent report did say that the handset could be available earlier, in July or August.

An earlier Galaxy Note 3 launch would surely not bring back lost Galaxy S4 sales, but it will help generate increased buzz around Samsung devices. Moreover, the sooner the handset is unveiled, the faster it will hit stores, and therefore the more money Samsung will make from early sales. More Galaxy Note 3 sales will make up for some of the lost Galaxy S4 sales, even though, historically, the Note models have not sold as well as their corresponding smaller flagship devices.

For what it’s worth, the Xperia Z Ultra (ZU or Togari) is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks and hit stores thereafter – Sony may be interested in beating the Galaxy Note 3 to market with bigger smartphones, just like it did earlier this year when the Xperia Z was launched a few months before the Galaxy S4. This may be another reason for the Galaxy Note 3 to arrive earlier than supposed to.

Is there a serious Galaxy S4 sales problem?

Galaxy Note 3 concept
Galaxy Note 3 concept

Now ETNews says that Samsung is dropping orders for Galaxy S4 supply components for the month of July down to 6.5 million units. That’s definitely an impressive drop compared to April’s and May’s numbers, 10 million and 12.2 million, reportedly. Still, not many other flagship out there can complain of such a “problem,” having to go from 12.2 to 6.5 million units from May to July.

Naturally, these numbers aren’t officially confirmed by Samsung at this time, and they don’t represent sales numbers for the Galaxy S4. The company only announced that it sold over 10 million Galaxy S4 units, reaching the milestone in less than a month after the device hit stores. Thus, the Galaxy S4 became the fastest selling Android handset so far, beating its predecessor.

But the handset is not quite ready to become the best-selling smartphone to date, a title still held by one of the iPhone versions out there. It’s also worth remembering that Samsung doesn’t announce handset sales numbers in its quarterly earnings report, but it does mention milestones – that means we’ll have to wait to see how fast the 20 million sales mark is hit.

Since Samsung announced its 10 million Galaxy S4 sales mark, we’ve seen a variety of reports saying that analysts and even Samsung expect sales to drop, even though Samsung’s CEO says the handset is selling well. Initial estimates suggested that the company could sell about 10 million units per month, but considering that Samsung is said to drop components orders, that may not happen.

Is the Galaxy S3 cannibalizing sales?

galaxy s4 vs galaxy s3
Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3

In addition to dropping supply orders, the company apparently has other measures in place to try to increase Galaxy S4 sales. One of them is retiring the “old” Galaxy S3, which is still a worthy investment for smartphone buyers considering that last-year’s flagship is still able to offer an impressive performance. Not to mention that since it’s an old device, the Galaxy S3 is available for a lower price in various markets, which surely appeals to plenty of buyers who aren’t necessarily interested in buying the latest device available.

However, it’s not known at this time to what extent the Galaxy S3 is cannibalizing Galaxy S4 sales, in case that’s actually a problem for the company.

Healthy competition

Furthermore, other Galaxy S4-branded devices have been recently announced including the Galaxy S4 Active, the Galaxy S4 Mini and the Galaxy S4 Zoom. While they’re yet to hit stores, these devices may also prevent some buyers from getting the original Galaxy S4. Of the three models, just the Active is a flagship device ready to match the original in performance, but all of them carry the same flagship name. But, at the same time, the fact that they are part of the Galaxy S4 family, could be enough for plenty of buyers to choose them instead of mid-rangers or low-end offers from the competition.

We’ll also note that, for the Android ecosystem, it’s certainly good to hear that the Galaxy S4 is having some sales troubles. That means devices like Sony’s Xperia Z, HTC’s One and LG’s Optimus Gs are worthy competitors. And then there’s also the iPhone, whose sales have not dropped once the Galaxy S4 sales. As always, more competition should benefit customers.

Wrap up

At the end of the day, nothing is officially official, so we can only speculate on available reports. Again, no matter how important the sales drop for the Galaxy S4, chances are the handset will still outsell its main competitors including the Xperia Z, the HTCOne and the LG Optimus G Pro. And if Samsung wants to correct its Galaxy S4 sales issues by launching the Galaxy Note 3 faster than planned, then it’s even better for Android buyers – there certainly are a few of you anxiously waiting for the device.

We’ll point out that while this looks like bad news for Samusng – Galaxy S4 sales not matching estimates – the picture isn’t as bleak as some people paint it. Samsung is still shipping plenty of mobile devices, and it’s only Android manufacturer to really profit in this complex mobile business. Whether it will hit internal Galaxy S4 sales goals or not, Samsung will surely report better than average overall sales numbers in the following quarter.