Later this month, Samsung will launch its new mid-range Galaxy M series. These are the first smartphones to feature the company's Infinity-V display, so-called due to its centered teardrop-shaped notch housing the front-facing camera.
In another first for Samsung, the devices will be launching exclusively in India on January 28 ahead of a global release, in an attempt to regain ground lost to Chinese rivals like Xiaomi in the world's second biggest smartphone market.
The popularity of Xiaomi's budget Redmi smartphones among younger consumers is believed to be a factor in declining sales of Samsung devices in the country. According to data from Counterpoint, Xiaomi overtook Samsung's share of the Indian market in Q4 2017, and maintained a five point lead over the company as recently as Q3 2018.
The Galaxy M series is being seen as a direct counter to Xiaomi Redmi, and the Korean company has indicated as much. "The M series has been built around and incepted around Indian millennial consumers," said Samsung India's senior vice president Asim Warsi, speaking to Reuters.
The line-up is thought to include three models, the M10, M20, and M30, which feature one, two, and three rear-facing cameras, respectively, a USB-C port, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a headphone jack. The M-series phones, which Samsung plans to sell only through its website and Amazon India, also promise fast charging, long battery life, and high performance, all for a price of between $140 and $280.
With smartphone sales flattening in saturated markets like the United States, Apple is said to have turned to India for new growth, but with little success so far, according to a report published late last year.
Just one in four Indians are said to own a smartphone, providing Apple with an opportunity to sell iPhones to millions of new customers in the country. According to the report, Apple's problem is that India is a very price-sensitive market, with more than 75 percent of the smartphones sold in the country costing less than $250.
However, so far Apple has been reluctant to change its traditional business model for selling iPhones, which prioritizes a limited number of coveted products sold at high prices. In that sense, by offering a range of handsets with affordable high-end options, Samsung appears to be attempting a level of regional flexibility that Apple has yet to chance.