Samsung needs to step up to the plate


GadgetGuy has just written the longest smartphone review in its history – over 4,400 words on the new, innovative and amazing Huawei Mate 20 Pro – we could have written a lot more. Samsung needs to step up to the plate and fast!

There is an old saying – never drop the ball because someone else will pick it up and run with it. It makes it just that harder to get it back. Samsung is in that very position now and needs to take some drastic action as Huawei is grasping that ball very tightly with absolutely no signs of letting go.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the world’s most advanced smartphone. You can read the review, but it has taken a quantum leap forward in hardware, camera, software/UI, AI, battery and exceeded every paradigm of every Android flagship on the market.

While Huawei is ostensibly aiming at Apple, it knows that Apple users are a loyal lot and smartphone OS switching is all but over. If you can’t grow the pie, and it is a saturated market at the top, then you need to steal someone else’s Android Pie!

We’re continually evolving our smartphone portfolio to provide our customers with new and exciting innovations and experiences. At this time, we don’t have anything to share about future devices. Please stay tuned.

Samsung smartphone division chief DJ Koh

It is not just Samsung’s Galaxy S9/+/Note9 that are at risk – it is every flagship smartphone over $1,000: Google Pixel 3/XL, LG G7/V35+/V40 ThinQ, OPPO FindX/variants, Sony XZ2/variants, HTC U12+ – you will be very happy with them all.

But Huawei has created a one/two knockout. It will either be Huawei Mate 20 Pro or one of the above, and that has improved its chances to 50/50 – not one-in-15 or so. Very clever marketing and positioning.

GadgetGuy has no inside knowledge of Samsung’s thinking here, but there are enough rumours and crumbs on the internet from ‘people who know’ for me to say, “Watch this space’.

A few things we’ve heard:

In-screen fingerprint sensor

The Galaxy S10 will have it – but the Huawei Mate 20 Pro already does. This opens design possibilities for Samsung (as it designs and makes screens) that may be ahead of Huawei.

The 5G race is on

While the Mate 20 Pro has the first Cat 21 LTE 6CA 1.4Gbps modem Samsung (at Cat 18, 6CA) may sneak in a 5G modem in the Galaxy S10. No, you won’t be able to use it anywhere for a while, but a ‘transition to 5G’ device is tempting. Samsung also has the US carriers on its side.

Huawei has already announced its yet to be released P30 and Mate 30 will have 5G. Huawei does not enjoy US carrier support.

Foldable screens

The rumours are that Samsung will introduce a Galaxy X foldable screen later this year. ZTE has an Axon M, but it is uninspiring. Initial estimates put it at over $2,500 and using a 7.3” display, and a Qualcomm 855 chipset.


Huawei has already countered with a foldable 5G with Kirin 980 processor due for sale in August 2019. It uses a BOE OLED screen with no traditional colour filter or backlight on a plastic substrate. The pixels are so small that bending does not affect them.

Triple cameras – why not more?

Huawei upped the ante with three rear cameras, so Samsung says its new A9 value series will have the world’s first quad (4) rear camera.

Huawei, Motorola and all the Chinese tigers are all preparing quad camera phones, and Nokia is working on five Zeiss lenses for its Nokia 9. LG may be working on one as well. The five sensors cover more light conditions. Huawei may be working on nine lenses, and it has the processor smarts to do it!


More models at lower prices

Samsung has always had a range of models to meet value, mass-market, mid-market and flagship. It relies on flagship functions flowing down to the mid-market, but recent rethinking has seen it up the ante on its A-series offering more, new features there.

Samsung really needs to hit it out of the park on the next one, especially since the S9 and Note 9 have been such yawners… 

Bryan Ma, vice president of devices research at IDC

There is the talk of at least three Galaxy S10 series covering a good, better, best scenario at prices from A$799 to $1,599.

However, Huawei has become a master of niche markets and has announced the Mate 20 Lite and several other variants coming to cover the mid-to-flagship market and expanding its Nova series to cover from $299 to $699.

And that market will be the bloodiest – OPPO, Motorola and many Chinese brands already have the ball there. Samsung risks paddling in a sea of #metoo devices that fight on bang for buck.

Where is it all heading?

Competition is great for a consumer. Just look at where Huawei has come from in just two years.