Samsung unveils Galaxy S22 as pole-position changes in IDC charts

Samsung took the wraps off its new Galaxy S22 series this morning – with the entry-level model $100 cheaper than its S21 equivalent as the company held the line on pricing, or cut it, amid a component squeeze and inflation (see full pricing foot of story).

Roh Tae-moon, president of Samsung’s mobile business division, told media he was willing to stomach extra raw material and shipping costs to woo a wider range of buyers in a smartphone market that has slowed over the past six months.

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“The pricing was a strategic decision. Roh said. “Our top priority was to ensure that our consumers feel our devices are affordable and accessible.”

The S22 series features faster processors and better cameras. Samsung says there are “ground-breaking” night-time photography features, thanks to larger sensors and AI smarts (the Herald will have a review unit shortly).

The cases on the 6.1-inch display S22 and the 6.8-inch S22+ are very similar to their S21 equivalents. But the new models trade plastic for glass on the rear of their cases. They are the first phones to use the new Gorilla Glass Victus+. Early reviews say the upgrade to the glass backing gives the phones a more expensive feel, but is slightly heavier.

There’s also a design tweak. The “contour” camera housing now matches the phone’s overall colour instead of contrasting with it.

Samsung sunsetted the Galaxy Note last year in favour of merging it with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The new S22 Ultra is billed as combining the S series’ camera smarts with the S-Pen. The new model adds a slot for housing the S-Pen. The 6.8-inch display is the same as the S21 Ultra but the body is a more angular design that recalls the final Galaxy Note.

The unveiling came on the heels of new figures from market tracker IDC (see tables below), which reported that Samsung remained top dog for 2021 overall, but that Apple had the momentum in the fourth quarter as it moved ahead.

“Apple’s strength in supply chain was on display more than ever in 4Q21,” IDC research director Nabila Popal said.

The larger story was that while the smartphone market grew for the full year, it contracted by 4.5 per cent in the second half as component shortages hit delivery times and kept prices high.

Samsung and Apple remained dominant at the top IDC’s charts, while Chinese players Xiaomi and Oppo made gains on the back of what the research firm called the “massive decline of Huawei”. Huawei has been hit by US sanctions, which limit its access to Google’s Android software and Android app store. In New Zealand, Huawei pivoted to focus on corporate video conferencing gear and home solar.

IDC is predicting that the smartphone market will grow 7 per cent in 2022.

S22 pricing

Pre-order is available from today online, with the S22 series launching in stores on Friday March 4.

Galaxy S22
• 128GB $1299
• 256GB $1399

Galaxy S22+
• 128GB $1599
• 256GB $1699

Galaxy S22 Ultra
• 128G$1999
• 256GB$2099
• 512GB $2399

See full tech specs here.

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