Samsung took a calculated risk when it jumped from the Galaxy S10 in 2019 to the Galaxy S20 this year. Samsung certainly isn’t the only Android smartphone vendor to play fast and loose with its numbering scheme in recent years, but while it can be a clever marketing tactic, it can also backfire if the phone itself doesn’t also feel like a significant upgrade over its predecessor. And in the case of the Galaxy S20, it really doesn’t.
In a recent report, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via cnBeta) predicted that Samsung would ship 30-32 million Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra phones this year. That might sound like a lot, and it’s nothing to sneeze at, but in 2019, Samsung sold an estimated 36-38 million Galaxy S10 series devices. Even if his projection is low, that’s still a huge dropoff for the biggest phone maker on the planet.
As Kuo notes, while the hardware upgrades present in the S20 series are respectable, the user experience is virtually the same. You aren’t going to notice any major differences using the Galaxy S20 compared to last year’s Galaxy S10, and with prices starting at $999, that’s going to scare some consumers off.
This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed this, but Samsung appears to have made a dire mistake when pricing its new flagship lineup. Apple made the retrospectively brilliant decision to name its entry-level flagship model “iPhone 11” and charge $699 for it. Unsurprisingly, it was the best-selling iPhone of the year. Meanwhile, Samsung opted not to launch a follow-up to the Galaxy S10e. Instead, Samsung’s cheapest 2020 flagship retails for $999, and the series tops out at a ludicrous $1,599 for the 512GB Galaxy S10 Ultra 5G. Kuo might be on to something.
None of this is to say that the Galaxy S20 isn’t a great phone, because it’s almost sure to be one of the best Android flagships releases in 2020, but Samsung’s decision to stick with the status quo in terms of design and price the series so high above the iPhone 11 might end up backfiring in a very serious way in the coming months.