Samsung debuts new media-centric On series of smartphones

The South Korean electronics giant has unveiled a new range of smartphones for India in the hopes of boosting its share of the increasingly important market.

Rahil Bhagat
Based in Singapore, Rahil Bhagat is a freelance tech journalist with a passion for consumer tech and startups. He is also an avid gamer and does not believe that celery exists. He tweets into the ether via @rahilmb
Rahil Bhagat
2 min read
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Samsung is known for its cutting-edge premium Galaxy S line of smartphones, but it's prepared a different flavour of device for India and China.

The South Korean electronics behemoth on Tuesday unveiled its new line of On smartphones via a webcast in India. The 5-inch On5 and 5.5-inch On7 are being marketed as multimedia-focused smartphones sold at the budget prices of 8,990 rupees ($140, AU$190, ‎£90) and 10,990 rupees ($170, AU$230, ‎£110) respectively. They'll be sold online from November 4.

Both devices come with a subscription to MixRadio, a music streaming service that, like Spotify and Apple Music, boasts a library of over 30 million songs. An ultra data-saving (UDR) mode will help people make the most of it, with Samsung claiming it saves up to half the data thanks to compression technology.

Both Android 5.1 phones are equipped with 1,280x720-pixel HD screens, quad-core processors and 1.5GB of RAM. The major differences between the On5 and On7 are their cameras, with the On7 sporting a 13-megapixel sensor as opposed to the On5's 8-megapixel one. The On7 also has a 3,000 mAh battery, larger than the On5's 2,600 mAh cell. A final minor difference is in the processors, with the On5 running on 1.2GHz and the On7 on 1.3GHz.

Though also available in China, the phone appears to represent an effort by Samsung to tighten its grip on budget phone-focused India, where it's the industry leader. The Indian market is increasingly important, growing by 44 percent between the second quarter 2014 and the same period this year, according to IDC research. As of August, the company had a healthy lead on its nearest competitor, holding 23 percent of the market against local brand Micromax's 17 percent.

A peculiar detail is the media-centric phone being sold on the back of the Line-owned MixRadio, formerly Nokia's in-house music system, instead of Samsung's own Milk music service. Samsung Milk was launched last March, although its Milk Video counterpart will be shut down later this month.

Though Tuesday was the On series' official unveiling, the phones first appeared on Samsung China's website last week.