What Samsung needs to do in 2018

Separate the Galaxy S9 from the S9+, but not too much

People love new things. What they don’t love are iterations new in name but not in appearance or performance. Unfortunately, the Galaxy S9 probably won’t be a dramatic departure from its predecessor. Samsung, however, should try to expand its lineup’s appeal in 2018 by introducing two models of the same high-end phone but with significant differentiation. Apple started doing this with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but Samsung’s kept its own duo close together for a few years.

Now is the right time to divide the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9+, creating unique interest in each of them.

The Galaxy S9 needs to come across as premium. As does the Galaxy S9+, of course. But we’ve seen previous Galaxy S releases feel like only one phone was announced. Samsung never gives anything remarkable to the Plus-branded model that the smaller one doesn’t have. That type of differentiation is needed in 2018 to reenergize loyalists and attract the average consumer who’s been staring at an iPhone. Because, honestly, the Galaxy S8 was an excellent phone but nothing about it was particularly mind-blowing.

Samsung should throw everything imaginable into the Galaxy S9+. While an in-display fingerprint scanner probably won’t be ready until late in 2018, it’d be nice if the company could offer more advantages over the smaller model. A larger display and bigger battery just isn’t going to cut it anymore. We want things like more cameras, additional RAM, and unique software features.

Everyone wants to feel they paid big money for the latest and greatest phone on the market. With Samsung, it’s been an awkward transaction in that you’re spending more money but getting an identical experience. Maybe something like industry-leading facial recognition could be on the Galaxy S9+ but not on the Galaxy S9. Or the company could settle for better cameras, as Apple does with the iPhone. That would certainly make consumers face a tough decision.

Whatever Samsung decides to do, it needs to consider ways to make the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ stand out from each other. Back in 2015, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge were similar but unique due to the curved display of the latter. That feature became standard on all models, so now the company must figure out the next innovation to separate its flagships.

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