There were mixed messages out of South Korea on Friday as Samsung, the world’s top smartphone vendor by shipment volume, officially launched its latest flagship smartphones. The all-new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge represent the best smartphones available to Android users at the moment — though there are two other phones shoppers may want to consider instead — and their reign will likely continue for at least the rest of the first half of 2016.
Early reviewers sang high praise of the new phones, with hardware quality and Samsung’s new camera tech at the top of everyone’s lists. That adoration apparently translated into strong preorders for Samsung, but the company wasn’t as upbeat as it should have been on Friday morning.
Samsung’s co-chief executive officer J.K. Shin on Friday told reporters that preorders of the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge smartphones outpaced preorders of last year’s models, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. Shin declined to give any actual numbers since Samsung never provides any data on shipment volume or end-user sales volume, but he did add that he expects total Galaxy S7 sales to ultimately top S6 sales.
At the same time, Samsung vice chairman and CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon sent a letter to investors painting a grim picture of Samsung’s smartphone business in 2016.
“We expect core products of our company, such as smartphone, TV, and memory, will face oversupply issues and intensified price competition,” Kwon wrote in the letter. “Our competitors will follow close behind our leading position in the global IT industry with aggressive investments and innovations.”
The CEO warned that competition across all of its business divisions will intensify, making numerous mentions of the difficulties Samsung faced in 2015. According to the company’s forecast, it will see much of the same in 2016.
“Samsung Electronics went through many difficulties last year, such as intensified competitions over our core products amid global economic recession,” Kwon wrote. “We expect that 2016 will also be a tough year.”
Samsung shares closed up nearly 2% on Friday on the news that the company will consider non-CEOs for its chairman role for the first time ever.