The Galaxy S8 experience is something of a mixed bag – but it’s certainly not a bomb. As ever, Samsung isn’t giving out exact numbers, but the company is happily reporting that the new flagship has seen a 30-percent increase in pre-orders over its predecessor, here in the States.
The new sales figures technically account for two separate handsets – the S8 and S8+ – but the jump is being put up against the combined sales of the S7 and S7 Edge before it, which makes for a fair comparison. And when combined with a record one million pre-orders in Korea, paint a picture of a handset that has bucked early concerns that the company would be adversely impacted by a year’s worth of seemingly unending negative publicity.
“At Samsung, we believe it is a privilege to make groundbreaking products that are enjoyed by millions, and have recommitted ourselves to innovate, not only with new products and services, but also in process,” the company’s North American COO Tim Baxter said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are a result of that recommitment and the market has responded – with a more than 30 percent year-over-year growth in pre-orders versus the record pre-orders we had with Galaxy S7, making it our best ever.”
Not that Samsung was worried. All of the negative publicity around crooked executives and exploding washing machines and phones didn’t do much to harm the company’s bottom line, thanks in no small part to a robust component-manufacturing wing. Consumer satisfaction in the company got thrown for a loop in the wake of the Note 7, but short attention spans and successful marketing seem to have righted the ship for fans of the company.
It’s a lot to overcome, given the fact that the Note 7 still gets name-checked on the regular by overly cautious flight attendants. But then, when you’re a major electronics manufacturer, maybe there’s no such thing as bad press? Maybe? The company also successful used the last several months of announcements as a public testing ground for safety messages, finally striking the right tone at the S8 event. And the fact that the company tossed a free Gear VR into the mix as a token of good faith probably didn’t hurt, either.
The device hit retail on April 1, and largely positive press has likely helped many consumers take the leap, in spite of its premium pricing. And indeed, it’s an extremely nice piece of hardware. The software offering, on the other hand, hit the world half-baked, and at the time of the device’s release. Bixby at least doesn’t come close to fulfilling the promises made in the media push around the product’s launch.
Early devices have also seen a few issues, including problems with screen color and WiFi connectivity, though the company has promised to issue updates to fix both. And in the grand scheme of things, those are minor issues that shouldn’t weigh to negatively on user feedback for the product.
It’s hard to say whether those early issues, coupled with a disappointing Bixby experience will impact the device’s sales in the long run. Given what the company’s overcome in the past year, however, it’s probably going to take a lot more than that to shake consumer confidence what is an otherwise premium Android experience.