Samsung’s new budget smartphone gains popularity

Samsung Electronics’ budget smartphone Galaxy A5 is drawing favorable market responses this year, according to telecom operators here Sunday.

Rolled out in the domestic market on Jan. 19 through SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus, more than 30,000 A5s have been sold in a week. This is about 2.5 times that of last year’s version of A5, which was released early 2016.

On average, about 4,000 A5s have been sold per day during this period of 2017. In particular, the daily average sale exceeded 5,000 before the Lunar New Year’s holiday.

Despite new premium smartphones such as Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S8 and LG Electronics’ G6 that are scheduled to be released soon, the domestic smartphone market between January and February shows solid demand thanks to young customers who seek to buy a new handset before the new semester.

“The smartphone market here between January and February is like a prelude before the scheduled launches of new strategic models,” an industry source said. “Demands surge during this season because of the holidays and preparations for a fresh term.”

Samsung Electronics has renewed the A5 this year by introducing two 16-megapixel cameras both on the front and rear side of the handset. The A5 also has the IP68-grade waterproof and dustproof features for the first time for Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy A series budget handsets.

The company’s flagship handset Galaxy S7 also has this grade of waterproof and dustproof features. Surrounded by three-dimensional curved glass on the back panel and metallic frame on the sides, the budget handset supports mobile instant payment service Samsung Pay and data storage service Samsung Cloud, according Samsung Electronics.

“We have combined premium features from flagship models to trendy designs for the new Galaxy A5,” a Samsung Electronics official said.

Though the new A5’s price was set at 548,900 won ($470.35), up 20,000 won from that of last year’s edition, it is drawing greater popularity than before because no other budget handsets in the market are considered to be as competitive as the A5.

Latest budget smartphone in the market are LG Electronics’ X300, which is available for only 253,000 won, and the Sol Prime made by China’s TCL, which is exclusively provided through SK Telecom. But both are being dwarfed by the new A5.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics has said it will continue to strengthen its budget smartphone lineup by adopting premium features to its other budget handsets such as the Galaxy J series.

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