When Samsung launched the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note in 2011, it was widely labeled as too large by tech pundits around the web. However, Galaxy Note was a hit for Samsung and helped spur the “phablet” genre, smartphones that are larger than normal smartphones but smaller than tablets. With the announcement of 6.3-inch and 5.8-inch Galaxy Mega smartphones, it may feel like Samsung is pushing the phablet envelope a bit too far; after all, who really wants a smartphone that large. Samsung must be going insane, right? Wrong.
To better understand Samsung’s logic behind the Galaxy Mega line, you have to understand some facts about the smartphone world. Generally speaking, the world can be divided into three broadly-defined markets:
People in high-income markets (such as the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Australia) have enough disposable (spare) income to indulge themselves. As such, they can afford to, and do, spend their money on both smartphones and tablets. These are the markets where Samsung (and other mobile manufacturers) push their high-end smartphones and tablets.
People in low-income markets (such as Pakistan, India, and China) do not have very much disposable income. While many people in these countries desire to own mobile devices, most can only afford feature phones or low-end smartphones or low-end tablets. Because people can typically only afford one device and smartphones are more useful than tablets (i.e. smartphones can make calls whereas tablets cannot), most people in these markets prefer smartphones over tablets. This is why Samsung (and other mobile manufacturers) compete in these markets with low-cost, low-end smartphones.
Then there are the medium-income markets, places like Russia, parts of Europe, parts of the Middle East, and Brazil. People in these markets have more disposable income than low-income markets but less than high-income markets; they can afford better gadgets than low-income markets but most people typically cannot afford both a smartphone or tablet like high-income markets. This is why Samsung has debuted the Galaxy Mega line, for these medium-income markets. People in these markets have enough income to be able to purchase one good device but most cannot purchase two. Samsung feels the Galaxy Mega line will be attractive to people in these markets because, due to their size, Galaxy Mega phones can serve as a smartphone and a quasi tablet. Basically two for the price of one.
Now does that mean Galaxy Mega will be a hit in these markets? Hard to say. It very well could be people are balked at the idea of owning such a huge smartphone, regardless of how much income they have or don’t have. However, releasing Galaxy Mega for such markets is, in my opinion, a very smart move on Samsung’s part. Genius, in fact; it shows Samsung knows how to read markets and market demand, and respond accordingly instead of a “one-size-fits-all” policy. A very important skill to have in an industry where giants rise and fall overnight.
Feel free to share your thoughts on this matter in the comments below. You are welcome to agree or disagree with me.