Samsung unveils Note 9 with record-breaking price
THE WORLD'S leading smartphone maker launched its most expensive handset of all time overnight, revealing the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 would come with a larger screen, larger battery, more storage, and a much larger price tag than ever before.
But Samsung's record-breaking $1799 smartphone, which will arrive in Australia on August 24, will also come with something other Google Android handsets cannot match: it will be the only device of its kind to run the runaway gaming success Fortnite.
Industry experts said tapping into the "cultural phenomenon" could be a winner for the company, and could even entice buyers to overlook its higher price.
Samsung unveiled its newest flagship phone in Brooklyn's Barclays Center overnight, showing off the first Note smartphone to feature a 6.4-inch screen, up to 512GB storage, and a battery-powered stylus that could be used as a remote control for selfies.
Samsung Electronics Australia mobile division vice-president Garry McGregor said the success of the newest Note smartphone was "critical" for the company as it represented its most powerful, premium device to date.
He said typical Note smartphone buyers were entrepreneurs, "working mums, students, and small business owners" who were willing to pay more for powerful hardware, extra storage, and longer battery life.
"People who are those power users who want everything stored offline, our research certainly suggests that they would be willing to pay $1799," he said.
"We're also proud of the fact that the Note 8 was a 64GB phone that retailed at $1499. With this one, our 128GB entry-level Note 9 will retail at $1499, so it's actually the same price for a lot more innovation."
Mr McGregor said the new smartphone would also feature the largest battery and most RAM in a Samsung handset to date, along with a new cooling system to appeal to mobile gaming fans, including those who play the popular survival game Fortnite.
"Gamers as a community are the most demanding on their technology," he said.
"What we didn't want to do was to turn up on the dancefloor like the old man, and say 'hey, we're here now!' You've got to have some credibility and you've got to breakdance and move on that dancefloor. As much as our other smartphones have true gaming capability, this one we 100 per cent back."
Samsung's smartphone will be the first Google Android device to feature Fortnite, in an exclusive deal signed with creator Epic Games.
Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said while it might seem like an unusual partnership, Samsung's deal with the game developer could pay dividends in winning over a new audience and earning praise from existing fans.
"Fortnite is such a cultural phenomenon right now and any business that can attach itself to that will definitely get a boost," he said.
"We track a lot of mobile games and apps, and we've seen such a phenomenal spike in Fortnite spend across all the platforms, but definitely mobile devices."
A lot is riding on the success of the Galaxy Note 9 for the company, however, after it recently revealed slower than expected sales for its Galaxy S9 smartphone launched in March.
The company has shipped 31 million of the new handsets since its launch, compared to 50 million for its highest seller, the Galaxy S7, in 2016.
The company still holds the title of the world's biggest smartphone seller, however, with 20 per cent of the market, according to Gartner, compared to Apple's 14 per cent.
Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson travelled to New York as a guest of Samsung.