Consumer Electronics

Will New Samsung Phones Undercut Coming Apple iPhone 8?

Samsung Electronics is expected to announce its latest generation of the Galaxy line of smartphones on March 29 at an event in New York City. Rumors about features in the new Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones have been making the rounds, and there appear to be many similarities between the new Samsung phones and the new Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone, variously dubbed the iPhone 8 or the iPhone X, due out in the fall.

The latest leak related to the Samsung phones is related to the European prices for the devices. According to a tweet from Evan Blass cited by MacRumors, the 5.8-inch S8 will start at €799 ($859) and the S8+ will start at €899 ($967). Apple is expected to price the iPhone 8 at more than $1,000 and pricing the new iPhone 7s and 7s Plus at the same level as the current iPhone 7.

While we won’t know the differences between the Galaxy phones and the iPhone 8 until the fall, that hasn’t stopped the rumor machine from working overtime to dig out specifications.

The S8 is expected to include a 5.8-inch AMOLED display while the S8+ is tagged for a 6.2-inch display. Both are expected to be fully enclosed in glass with no physical home button. Other expected features include wireless charging, a base 64 gigabyte (GB) memory capacity and iris scanning.

The iPhone 8 is believed to include a 5.8-inch AMOLED display and, like the new Galaxy phones, to be completed glass encased with no physical buttons. The iPhone 7s and 7s Plus will retain the current LCD displays in order to keep the price of the new phones down.

If Apple follows its pricing pattern, the iPhone 7s will come in at around $650 and the 7s Plus will cost around $770. Both include 32 GB of memory. If the rumored pricing of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is correct, the two phones will nestle right between the 7s and 7s Plus and the iPhone 8.

Is that good news or bad for Apple? That depends on whether Samsung sees the new Galaxy phones as competition for the iPhone 8 or the two 7s models. Selling a premium-priced phone against Apple can be a difficult proposition. The company has legions of loyal users and many are willing to pay top dollar for Apple’s newest device.

But if Samsung can afford to price the S8 and S8+ nearer to the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, the competition gets interesting. Apple might have to give up some of its margin in order to sell against a phone with (presumably) more memory and a larger, sharper display.

It’s also worth noting that the new Galaxy phones could see lower U.S. pricing than a straight euros-to-dollars conversion might imply because the European prices include value-added tax.

Following the March 29 introduction, the new Galaxy phones are due to begin shipping to consumers on April 21.

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