Samsung Electronics may not be so confident about its upcoming Galaxy Note 9 phablet following the weak performance of its Galaxy S9, which suffered sluggish sales after its launch earlier this year.

Industry watchers told South Korean news outlet Yonhap Wednesday that Samsung is still “uncertain” about the Note 9’s projected market performance because its Galaxy S9 series did not succeed in capturing more consumers in the first half.

“The Galaxy S9 failed as it did not stand out compared to its predecessor,” one industry watcher said, adding that the upcoming Galaxy Note 9 is also unlikely to be a game changer for the tech giant. “The rumored information on the Galaxy Note 9 is also not that innovative.”

When Samsung revealed its earnings report for the second quarter, it was undeniable how its IT and mobile business failed to maintain or surpass last year’s figures. Samsung is still the largest vendor after shipping 71.5 million units of phones or 20.9 percent of the market in the April-June period. However, its earning profit of 2.6 trillion won or US$2.3 billion was nowhere near its 4.06 trillion won or US$3.63 billion profit a year prior. The company also saw a 1.7 percentage-point decrease from its market share.

Analysts said the dip in Samsung’s profit and market share was mainly due to the Galaxy S9’s poor performance. The first-half flagship unfortunately failed to grab the attention of consumers, given its minor update status compared to last year’s Galaxy S8. The rise of Samsung’s Chinese rivals also contributed to the tech giant’s woes. Chinese vendors such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo did well because they were able to release price-competitive premium phones and mid-range phones with high-end features.

According to industry observers, more and more consumers are becoming price conscious when purchasing smartphones at a time when top manufacturers like Samsung and Apple are incessantly releasing highly expensive models that do not deliver distinctive features.

Despite its qualms about the Galaxy Note 9’s appeal, Samsung is still hoping to revitalize its smartphone business with the release of the new phablet. Samsung is currently busy preparing for the introduction of the Note 9 during its Unpacked event in New York City this Thursday, Aug. 9.

If previous leaks and reports are to be believed, the Note 9 will come with an improved S Pen stylus that has Bluetooth connectivity. The device is also expected to have a large 6.4-inch display, a massive 4,000 maAh battery and improved connectivity to the Samsung DeX platform. As for pricing, Samsung is reportedly seeking to have reasonable prices for the different Galaxy Note 9 storage variants.

Samsung is doubting the Galaxy Note 9’s market appeal after the weak demand for the Galaxy S9 series. Reuters/Adnan Abidi