The Nigerian smartphone market has consistently recorded growth, with many top brands competing aggressively. When Samsung Electronics West Africa, launched the Galaxy S7 Edge and S7 smartphones recently, its Director of Information and Mobility, Emmanouil Revmatas, told Raheem Akingbolu that the market is responding positively to innovation
The launch of Galaxy S7 edge and S7 is coming barely a year after Samsung unveiled Galaxy S6 edge and S6, is the introduction of the new devices a result of less-than-stellar performance of the preceding model in the market?
Not at all; Samsung as a brand has become synonymous with innovation. Our Galaxy S range is also regarded as the premium smartphone. Introducing the new Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and S7 is our commitment to our customers to meet their ever-evolving technology needs in the fast-paced world we live in. Samsung did not just redefine these devices, but also re-imagined what they could do based on the feedback from the people who use them, and what they need most from the devices. Our customers are the inspiration for any innovation.
The Galaxy S7 series are being positioned as stunning in both visual appeal and handling. Can you please highlight the major features that stand the new offerings out?
The key differentiators for the S7 edge and S7 range from IP68 water and dust resistance feature, which allows for submersion in up to 1.5meters of water for 30 minutes at a time. The S7 comes with 3,000mAh battery, while the S7 edge has 3,600mAh batteries which are great improvements from the S6. They also come with 4GB of RAM for improved multitasking and 30 percent more powerful processors with “thermal spreader” water-cooling technology to avoid the phones overheating.
Both devices have support for microSD cards augmenting their 32GB of internal storage. The microSD card space can also be used as a second SIM slot for those who want to use two SIM cards on their device.
In the pre-sales promotion you have been conducting, Samsung is bundling a device, the Gear, with the S7 series. What is the Gear all about?
The Gear VR is a virtual reality headset that allows you to clip in your Samsung device and transport yourself to another galaxy by either playing a virtual reality game or watching a fully immersive and interactive movie, or your own video that you have captured on your Gear 360 camera.
Competition in the high end segment of the market for smartphones is very stiff. The phones are mainly running on the Android operating system except of course Apple’s iOS. Since all Android-based phones are basically running on the same platform, why should one be preferred to the other?
Rather than answer this, I would prefer to say, let the consumer decide based on their own needs and wants.
Still on the operating systems of smartphones, there is a widespread perception that Android-based phones consume far greater amount of data. Is this true and what can be done to minimise the amount users expend on data?
Perception is not always reality. Perhaps, as research has shown, the ease of using Android-based phones means that consumers access the internet and do a lot more with their devices and therefore consume more data because of higher usage.
There is the claim that the S7 series are water and dust resistant, that, in fact, they can survive being left in water for as long as 30 minutes. Isn’t this a sales enhancing gimmick?
An IP, which is “Ingress Protection” rating, can only be achieved after a rigorous assessment has been confirmed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The code is defined by the IEC who state that IP68, which the S7 is, can be immersed up to 1.5m for 30 minutes.
Robustness of the devices brings me to the next question, which is on protecting the devices from accidental damage, which could occur at anytime. Considering the pricey nature of the smartphones, why is Samsung, being the leader in the smartphone market in Nigeria, not promoting insurance to reduce possible losses from buying these smart devices?
As many know we were the initiators of this concept several years back, but now many retailers are offering this service in one form or another.
The other question that relates to the previous question is after-sales support. These devices are complex. How easy is it to get help with fixing them when buyers experience glitches? Or do you simply replace them under warranty?
Depending on the nature of the problem, when a customer has an issue and takes their device to our service centres, which are located across Nigeria, the Service Consultant will advise whether the glitch is in or out of warranty. As you also know, we continue to be the only brand that offers a 24-month warranty.
We have seen the huge growth that the smartphone market has witnessed in Nigeria, which is not too different from other markets around the globe. Indeed, a recent report ranked Nigeria 17th globally in smartphone usage. What could be responsible for the huge growth that we are experiencing in this market?
In fact, approximately 70 percent of the market is still feature phone based even though there is a significant growth year-on-year of smartphones. The huge growth is being driven by availability of broadband. Nigeria often leapfrogs technologies evidenced by the fact that most people will never have a landline. Another factor driving adoption is investment in 3G, and more recently LTE, coverage and capacity. A third factor is that smartphones are becoming more affordable and in addition, the need for people to be connected is also driving growth. Nigeria ranks extremely high in terms of social media trends and activity.
Without full broadband network in addition to the not-so-pleasant internet connectivity in Nigeria, do you think Nigerians are really optimising the benefits of smartphones like the Galaxy series?
I think the experience of smartphone users in Nigeria is improving every day. Furthermore, many of the great features on the Galaxy do not always require internet connectivity.
With the world gradually moving into the era of Internet of Things, with virtually everything having connectivity to the internet, which role do you see the smartphone playing in this milieu?
The device allows seamless integration of various tools, apps, wearable devices as well as household products.
Smartphones are loaded with all kinds of features, with some, like the S7 requiring biometric data to enhance the security of the device and the information stored therein. How safe are users’ data since the storage of such data are most likely cloud-based and outside the shores of this country?
All our premium devices come pre-loaded with Knox – a new Android-based solution specifically designed to enhance security of the current open source Android platform. Knox has received superb reviews.
The smartphone market is always evolving, churning out smarter and sleeker devices. The devices have evolved from being just phones to an infotainment platform and are currently being used as a payment tool. Where do you see smartphones headed in the next few years?
Our personalised device can manage and connect to what, when and where we want. This could range from our TV or fridge to smart watches as such as the Gear S2 or virtual reality like the Gear VR, to gaming and now recording experiences using the brand new Samsung Gear 360 camera.
After the launch of the S7 series devices that are packed with futuristic features, what is next for Samsung Galaxy series?
You will have to wait and see, but you can be guaranteed that we will continue to innovate and shape the future!