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Two of the country’s biggest smartphone makers, Samsung and Xiaomi, will face off this summer with the S9 and Mi Mix 2S, respectively. The new phones will launch this month. The S9 and S9+ will go on sale from March 16 in India, while the Mi Mix 2S will be launched likely by the month-end, around the time it is unveiled in China on March 27, according to industry sources. The two launches are important because both Samsung and Xiaomi are betting on technologically advanced chipsets to power their phones. While Xiaomi has chosen Qualcomm’s latest processor, Snapdragon 845, to drive the Mi Mix 2S, Samsung has opted for its in-house Exynos 9810 10nm (nanometer) processor for the S9 and S9+ in India. Most smartphone makers have been in a rush to launch their phones with Snapdragon 845 but the Exynos 9810 10nm chipset — much smaller than others — is not far behind. Like the Snapdragon 845, it is fast, sleek and can handle graphics-heavy technology easily. Samsung unveiled the S9 and S9+ in New Delhi on Tuesday (it is not on sale yet), at a price tag above Rs 57,000. The S9 will come with a starting price of Rs 57,900 for a 64GB variant, whereas the 256GB variant will cost Rs 65,900. The S9+, which has a 6.2-inch screen (S9 has a 5.8-inch screen), will be available for Rs 64,900 (64GB) and Rs 72,900 (256GB), respectively. Speaking to Business Standard, Asim Warsi, senior vice president, mobile business, Samsung India, said, "Globally, we have invested $14 billion (Rs 910 billion) in research and development so that we can deliver the best phones to consumers.
Since the global announcement of the S9 and S9+ on February 25, the phone has received 300,000 registrations in India." Besides its camera quality, display, and allied features, Warsi said the company had introduced a new carrier aggregation feature in the new phones, which would allow users to stream data at a rate that is two-and-a-half times faster than regular phones. According to Warsi, apart from cashback and other offers, Samsung has also tied up with the three major telecom operators - Airtel, Jio and Vodafone - for this launch. But can it dislodge Xiaomi, which remains the largest smartphone maker in India? *In April-June 2017, Samsung is first and Xiaomi is second; Lenovo is ranked third **For the October-December 2017 quarter, Lenovo is ranked fourth and Vivo is third at 6.5 per cent Source: IDC For the December 2017 quarter, Xiaomi's market share, according to IDC, stood at 26.8 per cent against Samsung's 24.2 per cent. The company first overtook Samsung in the September 2017 quarter with a share of 26.5 per cent. Warsi said there was no threat to Samsung's leadership position in the above Rs 30,000 price segment. "Competition has always helped us as it pushes us to innovate," he said. Xiaomi is also not expected to be far behind. The price tag of the Mi Mix 2S is likely to be in the Rs 40,000 bracket, implying that it will be priced lower than the S9 by nearly 31 per cent. In the past one year, Xiaomi has pushed the peddle on investment in India. The Beijing-headquartered firm is waging a battle on three fronts — Mi Homes, Mi Preferred Partners and electronic retail chains — besides its online thrust. The Mi Mix 2S is expected to be pushed heavily through the Mi Home platform. Alongside, it will also sell the new phone through all major electronic retail chains, including Croma, e-Zone, Vijay Sales, Sangeetha, and Hot Spot. It will also have preferred partners or smaller dealers and retailers on board for the launch.