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Samsung's Galaxy S7 smartphones set sail in S. Korea

All Headlines 09:34 March 11, 2016

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co., South Korea's tech powerhouse, on Friday started shipment of its latest high-end smartphones -- Galaxy S7 and its offbeat sister Galaxy S7 Edge -- on its home turf on the hope that they will help revitalize its mobile business.

The two high-end smartphone models, first showcased at a trade fair in Spain last month, come with improved batteries and are water and dust resistant. The company also brought back the micro SD card slot that had disappeared in the Galaxy S6 series.

The world's top smartphone maker said the local price of the 32 gigabyte (GB) Galaxy S7 will be 836,000 won (US$690), compared to the initial price of 858,000 won for the 32GB Galaxy S6.

That of the 32GB Galaxy S7 Edge stands at 924,000 won, also down 5.6 percent from its predecessor.

Local consumers can pay between 500,000 won and 700,000 won for the phones depending on pay plans offered by the country's telecom operators.

Samsung adopted what it calls a "dual pixel sensor" for the cameras of the two models for the first time in the industry, which enhances the quality of photos to the level of high-end cameras.

Samsung Electronics expects the smartphones to lend support in promoting its mobile payment platform, Samsung Pay, saying users can use more ATM machines locally to withdraw money.

The mobile platform supports magnetic secure transmission technology that works on traditional credit card machines. Like rivals Apple Pay and Android Pay, it also supports near field communication technology that requires a separate transaction device.

Samsung Pay, also operating in South Korea, is expected to reach China this month, eventually expanding to seven countries in 2016, including Australia, Brazil, Singapore and Britain.

Amid the slowing global smartphone market coupled with the soaring demand for budget handsets locally and globally, the new Galaxy smartphones are expected to play a decisive role in revitalizing sales.

Samsung's IT and mobile business, which is in charge of smartphones, posted an operating profit of 2.23 trillion won in the fourth quarter, up from 1.96 trillion won a year earlier. But the sector's operating profit continued to remain well below the 6.43 trillion won posted in the first quarter of 2014.

On Thursday, Koh Dong-jin, head of Samsung's mobile division, painted a rosy picture about the newest flagship smartphones, expecting their sales to exceed those of their predecessor.

"It is fairly great," said Koh Dong-jin, head of Samsung's mobile division, during the Galaxy S7 showcase event held in Seoul. "The figures for preorders are higher than expected, and I am strongly positive (about the sales)."

sam@yna.co.kr
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