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Samsung's mobile division is in ‘crisis,’ Galaxy S10 and folding phone to rescue it?

Samsung's mobile president DJ Koh has reportedly said the division is tanking and pointed to the Galaxy S10 and folding phone to revive it.

Published onNovember 20, 2018

  • Samsung’s mobile division DJ Koh has reportedly said the unit is in “crisis.”
  • Koh apparently wrote this in an internal message to colleagues, citing the upcoming Galaxy S10 and foldable phone as potential opportunities to recover.
  • Samsung’s major new smartphones are tipped for launch next February.

Samsung’s mobile division is in “crisis,” according to recent comments made by its mobile unit CEO DJ Koh (above). Koh said the company was looking to next year’s flagships to redeem it.

Koh made the comments in a recent message to executives and employees, according to The Korea Herald.  Koh reportedly wrote he was “sorry about the currently struggling status of the Samsung smartphone business and will do my best to overcome the crisis with the upcoming Galaxy 10 and foldable phones.”

Samsung’s mobile business is facing strong competition, particularly with the rise of Chinese manufacturers like HUAWEI. Its Q3 2018 operating profit was down ~$399 million compared to Q2 2018 (2.67 trillion won vs 2.2 trillion won), though it usually sees a drop at this time of year with the release of the Apple iPhones. However, Samsung does remain the number one global smartphone manufacturer for the time being.

Samsung Foldable Phone

From the outside, the current situation doesn’t look like a disaster for the South Korea manufacturer but the company’s acting chief Lee Jae-yong has also apparently criticized the competitiveness of the mobile division’s (presumably recent) smartphones.

Samsung’s folding phone (potentially called the Galaxy F) in particular represents a big comeback opportunity. While rumors suggest the Galaxy S10 will be another predictable flagship — it may include three cameras on the back and an in-display fingerprint sensor, but we’ve already seen these on smartphones — the folding phone would be part of an entirely new product category.

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Samsung is expected to be one of the first major brands to market with such a product, which could give it a significant boost in earnings. The foldable phone is tipped to be launched in February or March next year.

As Samsung nears the end of the year, the company is expected to make some organizational changes; The Korea Times speculates DJ Koh may leave or be removed from his position. Koh has been Samsung’s mobile president since 2015 and held the position when Samsung was forced to abandon the Galaxy Note 7 over safety concerns. If Lee hasn’t seen great improvements since then, Koh’s time may be up.