Samsung will host Unpacked launch in three cities on Sept. 3
Samsung likely will show off its new Galaxy Note 4 and other devices during an event to be held simultaneously in Beijing, Berlin, and New York.
It's time for another Unpacked.
Samsung sent out invitations Tuesday for an event on September 3 ahead of the IFA electronics show in Berlin. During simultaneous events in Beijing, Berlin, and New York, the company likely will show off the Galaxy Note 4 phablet -- its phone-tablet hybrid that spawned a new category of smartphones -- as well as other devices such as wearables.
Samsung has tended to hold two Unpacked events each year -- one early in the year for the latest Galaxy S smartphone and another in the fall for its newest Note device. It unveiled the Galaxy S5 in conjunction with Mobile World Congress in February and introduced the Note 3 phablet at IFA last year. The launches give Samsung the chance to show off its latest hardware and software features, and they generate the kind of attention that only companies like Apple have typically inspired.
The latest Unpacked comes as Samsung faces tough times in the key mobile market. Makers of low-cost handsets are threatening its position in regions such as China, and fewer people are buying pricey, high-end smartphones. Tablet sales also have sputtered as consumers wait longer before upgrading to newer devices and as many opt for larger smartphones over smaller tablets. Samsung is counting on its new devices to attract buyers and improve its results.
In late July, Samsung posted a 25 percent drop in second-quarter operating income as the profit in its mobile division tumbled 30 percent. Samsung also warned that the second half of 2014 would "remain a challenge" as competition in the mobile market leads to lower device prices and hurts its profitability.
To help boost results, Samsung said it plans to launch two new high-end smartphones in the second half of the year. One will be a "very innovative new product in the large-screen space," Hyun-Joon Kim, senior vice president of Samsung's mobile communications business, said during a conference call with analysts following the second-quarter earnings report. He said the second will be "a very attractive new model that uses new materials and new displays."
Kim didn't provide any details about the devices, but the bigger screen smartphone is likely the Galaxy Note 4. Samsung typically introduces its newest phablets, or phone-tablet hybrids, in the fall. The other premium device could be Samsung's much-anticipated metal smartphone that's been called everything from the Galaxy Alpha to the Galaxy S5 Prime.
Samsung also said during its earnings that it would introduce "a more diverse product portfolio" in wearables. The company is expected to launch a smartwatch that has its own connectivity, allowing it to operate independently from a smartphone. Currently, all of Samsung's smartwatches must connect to a phone or tablet for most functions, such as receiving notifications. The company also is believed to be working on smart-glasses similar to Google Glass.
And Samsung has teamed up with Facebook's Oculus business to develop a headset that uses mobile devices to create a virtual reality experience, CNET reported last month. It could show a VR device at IFA.