It's crunch time for Samsung with the Galaxy S8 launch

 
Lynsey Barber
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Samsung Unveils Its New Galaxy Note 7
Samsung has a lot riding on the Galaxy S8 launch (Source: Getty)

Samsung will be seeking to put behind it a tumultuous few months with the launch of its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8, today.

The much anticipated launch comes after the disastrous Note 7 which had to be scrapped entirely from its smartphone line up after battery problems caused many consumers' handsets to explode.

The giant recall is estimated to have cost the tech giant around $5bn while separately the company has been embroiled in a corruption scandal with chief Jay Y Lee facing trial over the claims.

Read more: Move over Siri: Bixby is Samsung's voice assistant to rival Apple

"We still pretty cautious on Samsung as we are not convinced that the full fall-out from the Note 7 disaster has been felt in terms of market share, which is what makes the Galaxy S8 launch so important," said Edison Investment Research analyst Richard Windsor.

The device, due to be unveiled on 29 March, is understood to have a curved screen with almost no bezel and will come with a new artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant called Bixby.

"We think that the odds are heavily stacked against Samsung having much success with Bixby but as long as it can continue to outsell Huawei by more than two phones to one, the profitability of its handset business should remain intact," said Windsor.

Read more: Samsung just launched an iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface rival

Its biggest rival, Apple, will later this year unveil its latest flagship, what's thought to be the iPhone 8, in its 10th anniversary year of the device and last week revealed a new red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Analysts at IDC forecast a rebound for Apple with the handset after a lull for the iconic brand and slowing sentiment across the market..

The most recent figures on smartphone shipments from the firm put annual growth at 2.3 per cent, compared to 10.4 per cent a year earlier. Samsung slipped into second place behind Apple in the last quarter of the year and market share fell under 20 per cent for the first time in four years, "leaving no better time for the pending arrival of its next flagship product, the Galaxy S8".

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