Galaxy-Note-9

The focus on gamer-friendly features appears to be a shift away from Samsung’s previous positioning of the Note as a productivity-boosting device, and is an attempt to lure younger customers as the company’s smartphone sales falter.

U.S. carrier Verizon Communications Inc said the new device will be available for pre-order from August 10, with the 128 gigabyte model priced at $999.99 for the and 512GB model at $1,249.99.

Sprint Corp will introduce the smartphone on August 24 and offer a 50 percent discount as part of a promotional scheme.

Samsung also launched the Galaxy Home speaker, a device that will use its Bixby voice assistant and compete with similar products from Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

The company last month posted its slowest quarterly profit growth in more than a year as rivals such as China’s Huawei Technologies nipped at its heels, challenging the market leader with cheaper, feature-packed models.

An industry source said the new Note would be priced similarly to its predecessor Note 8, which sold at around $950. The Note 8 sported dual rear cameras and the biggest screen to date on a Samsung smartphone.

The launch comes about three weeks earlier than its predecessor’s release date, a move prompted by increased competition in the second half of the year as rivals release new smartphone models.

During the event, the company also unveiled its Samsung Galaxy watch with a wireless pad and charger duo for its watch and Note 9.

Its S Pen stylus is Bluetooth-enabled and designed to act as a remote for controlling YouTube video playback.

For its smart speakers, Samsung has partnered with Spotify Technology SA for music streaming. Spotify shares rose nearly 5 percent to $186.96 after the announcement.

HOPES ON NEW MODEL

“We expect the Note 9 to sell more than its previous model and we will mobilise all our sales and marketing resources to ensure the successful launch,” KyeongTae Lee, Samsung’s vice-president of mobile communication, told investors on the company’s earnings conference call last week.

Samsung does not break out shipments of its smartphone models, but analysts reckon it has shipped around 10 million Note 8 models so far.

Meanwhile, Apple Inc managed to sell more of its $1,000 iPhone Xs in the June quarter and regain some favour in China.