Galaxy S9 Has a Problem, and It's Not Even Out Yet

Samsung's Galaxy S9 might not be attracting the kind of market appeal that the company might have hoped.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Samsung's new handsets, which are slated to hit store shelves on March 16, have so far tallied "about the same or slightly lower" pre-order numbers than last year's Galaxy S8, according to the Yonhap News Agency. That data came from an unidentified Samsung official, who said the lack of growth is due to the two-day span between when Samsung unveiled the smartphone and actually offered it on pre-order. His comments were earlier reported on by BGR.

But one analyst has a different take on what might be happening. In a note to investors, Jeff Johnston from Arthur Wood Research, said that his channel checks suggest pre-orders are down about 50 percent compared to where they were last with the Galaxy S8. In the note, obtained by Barrons, Johnston said that the Galaxy S9 line is "significantly underperforming" Samsung's expectations. He added that upgraders might not see much value in the new features.

MORE: 8 Reasons the iPhone X Beats the Galaxy S9

Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S9 last month a day ahead of Mobile World Congress. The handset, along with its larger alternative, the Galaxy S9+, offers a design nearly identical to last year's models. The biggest change is the new Super Speed Dual Pixel camera, which offers better low-light performance and a new Super Slow-Mo video mode.

Other upgrades include stereo speakers, brighter screens and new features like AR Emoji, which didn't impress in our hands-on S9 preview.

But whether the problem is actually unique to Samsung is decidedly up for debate. Johnston said in his note that "smartphone sales are starting to decline at an accelerating rate." Other handset makers, in other words, are also dealing with the same problem. And although there could be less interest in Galaxy S9, there appears to be less interest in smartphone upgrades in general.

Samsung is planning to release its Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ on March 16. It'll be available on every major carrier network.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.

  • tico305123
    How can the iphone x be better if it cant compare to a note 8
  • Brad_53
    Good. Folks are finally getting it that they don't need each of the latest and greatest. Hold on to your phones for a couple to few years. The next step is using that money savings for something truly worthwhile, like retirement savings or paying down debt.
  • editgirl214
    I don't think the decline is because of the features I think it's because they are released to close together. The new phones use to come out every 2 to 3 years now it's every year. Not everyone wants a new $800+ phone every year. Create suspense, create want, instead we have -well if I buy the 9 the 10 will be out in a few more months :/
  • corazonesther
    hola como estas ..???
    @Brady53 YES! At minimum keep each phone till its paid off then sell on Offer Up, LetGo, or fb Marketplace. Even my 18 yr old has now learned the that the latest is not always the greatest. ;)
  • bmzhen1
    Nice link-bait title making it sound there is a technical problem with the phone itself.
  • aarnold1877
    You can't trade in your phone, pay $300 bucks and get the latest flagship anymore. Also, I'm part of the 2016 wave of phone buyers. Went from iPhone 6 plus, to Galaxy Note 7. I still wanted to give Samsung a chance with better screens, wireless charging so I settled with a Galaxy S7 edge. I never knew what phone lag was like until this phone. I'm still on Android 7.0 and 9 is about to be unveiled. I have to write my Android apps twice, the first with 7.0+ where I can use Java 8 features, and then another version for pre 7.0 devices due to fragmentation. I'm not going to tolerate a substandard processor, Snapdragon 845, while the rest of the world gets the Exynos 9810 that's actually in the ball park with the A11 bionic. It's all a mess. Going back to Apple that may be locked down, but has a consistant user experience.
  • markdissing
    Maybe people are slowly realizing that pre-ordering is bad?
  • dustin.j.clark
    For me, I got my unlocked S8+ in April of last year. I really don't see the need to upgrade. The S9 is better but is it worth the upgrade cost. No. I'd love something new and shiny but I don't want to be on a contract and I don't want to shell out another 1270 CAD - whatever I get for the S8+. Let's say it's 600 net I get after sale. Meh, not worth it. I bet there's a ton of people that feel the exact same way.
  • reader134
    The S8 and Note 8 were the first perfect smartphones ever made. So to improve upon that is very difficult. So if you bought one of these phones you are good. However, if you are still on an older phone you are missing out big time. Its surprising that phone makers kept adding big new features all the way through 2017. But I think we have reached a point that there is only so much you can add to a smartphone. Kinda like the laptop now.

    EDITGIRL214. Samsung and Apple have ALWAYS released a new version of their top phones every year. Hence the iphone 8 and S9.