Clearly, Samsung is still reeling from its Note 7 disaster. In an interview with Reuters, Samsung mobile chief Koh Dong-jin has confirmed that the Galaxy S8 won’t be unveiled next month at Mobile World Congress. That’s a big departure from the company’s usual release schedule, which revolves around a big “S” launch in the Spring and a new “Note” in the fall. The delay isn’t a shock, however. Back in November, the Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung’s leadership team was considering a later reveal date. It could come “as late as April,” the newspaper said at the time.
The push back should have an impact on Samsung’s total smartphone shipments. With the Note 7 gone, the company is relying on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge — excellent phones, but old by flagship standards — to compete with Google’s Pixel, the iPhone 7 and other high-end handsets. Last October the company released some dismal third quarter earnings, impacted undoubtedly by the Note 7 recall. Operating profit dropped to $4.6 billion, with its mobile arm contributing just $87 million — the lowest reported since 2008. With no Galaxy S8 in sight, Samsung could find it even tougher to fend off this season’s batch of Android flagships.
There’s no doubt that Samsung has a new phone in the works. For now, however, it has to focus on shaking its Note 7 shadow. After months of speculation, the company has published the results of its internal investigation into the phone. The problem, unsurprisingly, was the battery. According to Samsung, the casings were too small to safely secure an electrode assembly inside. In its haste to fix the problem, Samsung switched to a different battery that featured welding defects. That meant supposedly fine phones were also prone to short-circuiting. Eesh.