Samsung hopes these four cameras will save its mid-range phone lineup

Image: Samsung

Samsung has just announced the Galaxy A9, a mid-range smartphone notable for featuring a grand total of four cameras on its back. The handset is part of a new strategy from the company in which it’s attempting to introduce features on its mid-range devices first in order to appeal to developing markets and a younger audience in the West who are priced out of flagship devices.

Each of the four cameras on the rear of the device serve a different purpose. The first is the device’s main 24MP f/1.7 camera, the second is an 8MP f/2.4 camera with an ultra-wide 120-degree lens, the third is a telephoto f/2.4 lens with 2x optical zoom backed by a 10 megapixel sensor, and the fourth is a 5 megapixel f/2.2 camera that enables depth-of-field effects.

Image: Samsung

Aside from this four-camera array, the phone is equipped with a fairly typical set of mid-range internals, namely a Snapdragon 660 processor flanked by 6GB of RAM and powered by a 3,800mAh battery. There’s 128GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot that supports up to 512GB of external memory, and it also has a 3.5mm headphone jack and side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The screen is a 6.3-inch Full HD+ panel, with a resolution of 2220 x 1080. The noteworthy aspect of this device is its camera array, and Samsung’s presentation reflected this.

The Galaxy A9 is the first visible evidence of Samsung’s new mid-range mobile strategy. Speaking recently to CNBC, Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Koh said, “In the past, I brought the new technology and differentiation to the flagship model and then moved to the mid-end. But I have changed my strategy this year to bring technology and differentiation points starting from the mid-end.”

There’s a reason why new features have historically tended to debut on flagship devices which, with their high profit margins, are able to support the kinds of R&D costs that these new technologies take to develop. However, in recent years this area of the market has slowed as updates have become more incremental and give people fewer reasons to upgrade.

In May, Gartner analysts noted a Samsung slowdown in the face of aggressively-priced handsets from Chinese brands that are taking more market share in the midtier. Eye-catching features and new technologies (like in-display fingerprint sensors) from these companies are appearing on even their mid-range handsets, making them attractive to the kinds of segments Samsung wants to focus on. The Galaxy A9’s launch event was held in Malaysia, further differentiating it from the high-profile Western launches of flagship devices like the Galaxy Note 9.

The Galaxy A7 (left) alongside the Galaxy A9 (right).Image: Samsung
Image: Samsung
Image: Samsung
Image: Samsung
Image: Samsung

The Galaxy A9, with its eye-catching array of cameras, is an interesting sign of the company’s direction. It’s unclear whether the feature will eventually make its way to a flagship phone, but it’s already managed to get the handset a level of attention normally reserved for Samsung’s more expensive devices.

The A9 joins the cheaper Galaxy A7, which launched a couple of weeks ago with less powerful hardware, a slightly smaller screen, and ‘only’ three cameras on its back.

The Samsung Galaxy A9 will retail for €599 in mainland Europe and £549 in the UK (roughly $724) and will be releasing in November.

Comments

Save the mid-range lineup? That’s a bit harsh, considering their mid-range lineup is the reason they are the number 1 smartphone manufacturer on the globe. They don’t need saving, they simply need to continue their strong position.

they are indeed still #1, but rapidly losing marketshare due to the rise of the mid-tier chinese brands that will eventually compete at the top end, too.

I get your point. To be fair they’re no longer just competing at the top end either, Huawei outsold even Apple and Xiaomi is quickly catching up.
Personally I see it as a necessity, Samsung and Apple aren’t really pushing innovation as much as they used to, so it’s refreshing to see other brands take over the torch.

sources? I doubt Huawei outsold Apple in the high end markets. You can’t look at places like India for numbers.

Forgot to mention that they aren’t actually losing marketshare over time either. Their share remains really stable. There is more movement in the number 2-5 spot.

If the midrange needs saving, they could try selling them in the US. Have any of the Galaxy A series phones been sold in the US? We tend to only see flagships and the J junk.

I would say Samsung’s midrange definitely needed "saving", at least in the USA. That’s because Samsung basically ignored the midrange altogether…the choices here are either a flagship Galaxy S or Note phone, or some POS with a SD4xx, crappy camera, dull screen, and grim industrial design.

It may be too late now. I’ve always wondered why Samsung and LG just stood by and let other OEMs come in and steal the midrange market.

Could very well be that that is the case in the US. In Europe the midrange phones are their number 1 sales. Don’t forget that the US is a totally different market. Huawei, who is number two in sales isn’t even allowed to sell their phones in most store in the US.

I agree: Europe, India, Asia — they all have greater variety of midrange devices than we do here. I think a lot of that comes down to our carrier model, where the carriers are the all-powerful lords who have the ultimate say of what devices will succeed in the market. But I believe that model is finally starting to change.

599€ is now considered midrange?
You can get the S9 brand new on Amazon for less than that.

Also, lol at the useless 6 or 8gb RAM on a Snapdragon 660 device…

Apple’s budget phone (the XR) is 859€. Times change unfortunately.

But the thing is, you can get the current Samsung’s flagship (S9) right now for less than that.
Makes no sense to put a midrange with worse specs with a higher price point than the current flagship.

yeah but in 6 months, how much will this phone cost?

sure, but who is really gonna buy a 599€ midrange phone right now when you can get a true flagship for the same price?

And in 200 years, imagine how much it will retail for!!!

Not really a budget phone. Just not the most premium. They sell plenty of phones for less.

Apple doesn’t sell budget phones. It’s like saying all cars should be in the millions because the "budget" is 2MM.

I didn’t realize that the website removed part of my comment XD
Should read something like:
Apple doesn’t sell budget phones. It’s like saying all cars should be in the millions because the "budget" version of insert super expensive brand here is 2MM.

More RAM even on slightly underpowered chips is not a negative.

That chip isn’t as future proof as 845 is. That gpu too. And that’s a big thing.

But it will be fine for mr or mrs 50+ year old who is using it to do basic tasks like phone functions, email, checking their bank apps and etc.

The S9 didn’t launch at that price. The A9 wont stay at 599€ for long either.

$730? I think I’ve found the issue. That’s a flagship price. Should be $400 to $500 or why even sell it in Asia? They’d rather get a cheaper phone or a flagship. Not sure how this pricing makes sense.

With the kind of specs they bring (6G of Ram, 128G of storage, …). Yeah I’m not sure how this is a midrange phone.
Heck the Pixel3 has less than that on its cheapest version…

With a Snapdragon 660, this is 100% a midrange phone.

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