Can New Flagship Phone Pull Samsung out of Doldrums?

Samsung on Wednesday unveiled its latest Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, which the electronics giant hopes will pull its earnings out of the doldrums in the second half of this year.

Samsung's "Mobile Unpacked" event, which showcases the company's latest products, was held simultaneously in Berlin, New York and Beijing.

Samsung also unveiled the Gear VR, a portable virtual-reality headset accessory for the Galaxy Note 4, as well as the Gear S, a new curved-display smartwatch, and the Gear Circle wireless earphones.

To boost market share, the electronics giant usually unveils its Galaxy S series of smartphones in the first half of each year and the Galaxy Note series in the second half.

But the Galaxy S5 unveiled this April was criticized for lacking innovative features compared to the S4 and sales have been lackluster.

Samsung achieved an operating profit of just W7.19 trillion (US$1=W1,020) in the second quarter, down 24.6 percent compared to the same period of 2013. Some analysts expect Samsung's third quarter operating profit to drop to under W6 trillion.

All eyes are on whether the Galaxy Note 4 will be able to save Samsung from plunging deeper into the doldrums.

What stands out the most about the Galaxy Note 4 is a large screen with clearer image quality. It comes with a QHD display, which supposedly offers double the clarity of the Galaxy Note 3. It also features a 16 megapixel camera and a metal frame.

The company also unveiled a limited-edition Galaxy Note Edge with a display on its edges showing incoming calls or text messages. Mass production of the Galaxy Note Edge is not yet possible due to its complicated production process.

But analysts have been underwhelmed by the Galaxy Note 4 as well. Although it features an enhanced camera, its main functions remain unchanged and it lacks any marked improvements in design and software.

Besides, there are other smart devices that already have QHD displays and metallic frames.

Rival Apple plans to unveil the iPhone 6 on Sept. 9, which is expected to have distinctive new functions and design including a bigger screen.

englishnews@chosun.com / Sep. 04, 2014 11:45 KST