Samsung doesn’t normally like to share the stage with any of its key mobile rivals.
It’s why the past couple of years have seen its Galaxy S flagship devices revealed away from the feeding frenzy that is Mobile World Congress (MWC).
But this year is set to be different. The Korean giant is all but certain to reveal its Galaxy S5 to baying hacks on February 24th.
It revealed its Unpacked 5 invite yesterday dropping a huge hint about what we can expect in Barcelona.
The question is, why bring the device to Spain when it could hold a separate gathering and perhaps garner more press?
Maybe it’s the relative failure of the Galaxy S4 to catch on as 2013 waned, with sales apparently slipping to just four million in December according to some reports.
Playing into that is Samsung’s need to show the competition that it’s still boss.
It might have shifted a colossal, market–leading billion smartphones in 2013, but its financial results showed a slight profit drop and caused mild panic among investors.
Sammy needs to show the industry, as well as consumers, that it is still out in front.
There’s nowhere better to do that than MWC.
Everyone who’s anyone in mobile will be on hand to see the new device, which is expected to come with an improved screen and much–needed all–metal design.
But more importantly, the Galaxy S5 will dominate the news agenda in Barcelona.
No matter what Sony, LG or HTC reveal, none will be able to get the same amount of press as Sammy’s new effort.
That’s because they hype machine is bigger around Samsung and punters clearly prefer their devices to others.
This will be a particular worry for strugglers like HTC, which has traditionally used MWC to launch flagship phones and prove that it’s still a top player.
Chances are that this year the Taiwanese firm is going to have a real struggle on its hands.
Users just don’t buy its phones any more and Samsung’s Unpacked 5 event will take away any limelight it was hoping to bask in.
Samsung clearly knows what it’s doing. It needs this year’s Galaxy S to be a bigger success than 2013’s.
It can also do without the same embarrassment that surrounded its pitifully sexist, Broadway-themed event in New York last March.
Holding its event at a trade show means it can show the gathered press it means business, save a few marketing dollars and kill off any competition on the spot.
It’s a three–pronged approach that seems certain to come off.