Samsung wants the limelight back from Apple Watch


Amid the Apple Watch hype, Samsung is fighting for a space in the limelight for its hotly anticipated Galaxy S6 smartphone, which will go on sale on Friday—the same day as its U.S. rival's wearable is available for pre-order.

J.K. Shin, the electronic giant's mobile chief, told a press briefing in South Korea said he expects record shipments of the new device as the company looks to turn its fortunes around after a tough 2014.

Shin did not give specific figures, but as a comparison, the Galaxy S4—the most successful of Samsung's smartphones—shipped 53.7 million in its first year, according to IDC.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, March 2, 2015.
Gustau Nacarino | Reuters

But Shin did admit that the curved screen Galaxy S6 Edge would face supply shortages due to the difficulty of manufacturing the curved screen.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have already been praised by analysts for their higher quality design and use of materials – qualities critics did not find in the S5. A lot is riding on the success of this product after a year in which saw Samsung's market share remain fairly flat while Apple and others surged. In China and India, Samsung lost its top spot to local players Xiaomi and Micromax, while in the fourth quarter of last year, Samsung and Apple's market share was almost equal, according to IDC.

"The sales and results have been declining and it is important for them to show the latest device can really attract consumers back to their portfolio," Francisco Jeronimo, research director for European mobile devices at IDC, told CNBC by phone.

Samsung is upbeat on its earnings after it announced earlier this week that it expects operating profit for January to March to be its highest in three quarters, after seeing problems in its devices division previously.

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On the high-end of the market Samsung has been usurped by Apple, while on the low-end of the market, players such as Xiaomi offering high-spec smartphones at budget prices has eaten away at a market that the Korean company once dominated.

Jeronimo said that Samsung could still face problems concerning "loyalty to the brand", but needs to push for volumes with the new device.

"Competition in the ultra-high end is dominated by Apple. So it is very important for Samsung to keep volumes high even if they sacrifice margins to show they are the market leaders," Jeronimo added.

Shin also said the company would release a new wearable "soon" to follow on from the Gear S smartwatch but gave no further details.