Samsung Debuts Galaxy S21 Smartphones, With Lower Price Points

SEOUL— Samsung Electronics Co. ’s newest smartphones feature improved cameras, display functions for weary eyes and stylus compatibility.

But as global smartphone sales are projected to return to pre-coronavirus levels this year, the industry is trying to answer if the pandemic-weathered consumer will be satisfied with incremental improvements in technology and features. Samsung is betting the answer is yes.

The South Korean technology company introduced three new models of its Galaxy S21 phones on Thursday, hoping to gain ground on its sanctions-hobbled rival Huawei Technologies Co. and lift weaker sales of its flagship phones as global demand sputters back.

The most novel feature in Samsung’s new offerings may be the price: The base model Galaxy S21 model will retail for $799, or $200 cheaper than last year’s version. The S21+ will cost $999, followed by the top-of-the-line S21 Ultra at $1,199.

The smartphone market is still recuperating from the economic fallout of the pandemic, which briefly closed retail stores and caused people to delay buying new devices, analysts say. That helped push the average length of time consumers owned their smartphone to around three years, according to market-tracking firm Strategy Analytics, and overall smartphone sales slumped 20% in the first half of 2020.

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