Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., has announced the availability in India of its newly launched flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, with pre-orders starting Monday. The smartphones are expected to be available on both the extensive physical network of retailers selling Samsung smartphones in India, and via online shopping sites as well.
The smartphones will go on sale in India from April 10, priced at 49,900 rupees (about $800) for the 32GB version of the S6 and 58,900 rupees for the S6 Edge with the same storage capacity, while the 64GB and 128GB versions of both makes will also be available, company officials said at an event to promote the phones in New Delhi. Consumers are being enticed to pre-book now with offers such as a one-time replacement warranty for the expensive Corning Gorilla Glass 4 that the phone comes wrapped in and held in place by an aluminum frame.
That Samsung provided a live broadcast of the S6 in India underscores the importance the Korean smartphone giant is placing on revitalizing its brand in India, where it was once the undisputed leader, but has come under intense pressure from both local and Chinese competitors, especially at the lower end of the price band.
“With two manufacturing facilities and three R&D centers, Samsung has 45,000 people across the value chain in India,” Hyung Chil Hong, CEO of Samsung India, said at an event in New Delhi, promoting the new smartphones. “You can call us the torch bearers of make in India.”
The S6 phones are the first smartphones to be equipped with processors made with the 14nm semiconductor chip manufacturing process, according to company officials. The phones also have other industry leading specifications for their front and back cameras, screen quality and batteries. The S6 phones support two popular wireless-charging standards. The phone also comes loaded with the latest version of the Android operating system, Lollipop, out of the box.
The S6 arrives in India at a time when Apple Inc. is promoting its iPhone 6 models very aggressively with various incentive plans and through a zero-down payment plan in partnership with Vodafone Group PLC. One can expect that when the phone actually arrives in the country next month, Samsung will have various payment plans of its own to lure in aspiring owners. Some of them were announced Monday, such as a tie-up with HDFC Bank, India’s second-largest private bank, to offer an 18-month installment payment option.
And as China’s Xiaomi Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd., India’s Micromax Informatics Ltd., and even Microsoft Corp., flood the market with high-quality affordable smartphones at $100 or less, Samsung will be hoping that the premium feel attached to the S6, which launched to strong reviews at the Mobile World Congress trade fair in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this month, will rub off on its other, more affordable, smartphones as well.