MIA: The new Summer 2015 Galaxies are not present anywhere in Japan.
Yesterday, Softbank Mobile announced its Fall 2015/Winter 2016 product lineup. While some here may have been impressed at the carrier’s offering Huawei’s Nexus 6P, the event arguably had greater significance in what it didn’t contain: plans to release either the Galaxy Note 5 or the Galaxy S6 Edge+. As both NTT docomo and KDDI au – Japan’s other two major carriers – had already held events to launch their new offerings, this was essentially the last shot.
Softbank, which until just a few months ago had never carried a single Galaxy smartphone, surprised the local mobile market when it announced both the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, albeit months after the global release. In light of the unexpected pair of products, some had held out hope Masayoshi Son’s conglomerate might be the sole bastion to offer the “greater” Galaxies.
This news represents the latest hardship for the Korean conglomerate here in Japan, having completely re-branded itself as “Galaxy” earlier this year in an apparent attempt to shift attention from its brand name, and amid reports that both flagships were an immediate flop in the market. In addition to the Note 5 and Edge+, to date, neither the Galaxy Tab S2 nor the Gear S2 models have been announced for release.
The only one
The sole Samsung offering this Fall is the rather meager Galaxy Active neo, a Japan-only device that features a 4.5-inch WVGA-resolution TFT display, a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 SoC, 2GB of RAM, and an 8-megapixel rear camera to list but some of the specs. The device will come in at a price point of under $200.
This Active variant is a peculiar surprise given that its sole carrier, NTT docomo, had previously released both the Galaxy S4 Active and Galaxy S5 Active, yet has apparently passed on the S6 variant. Perhaps even more importantly however, docomo had been supportive of the Galaxy brand since the early days, being the sole carrier to offer the Galaxy S1, and subsequently the only one that offered the Galaxy Note 1.
While there is still ample opportunity for Samsung to make an announcement at a later date, at the moment things are looking rather bleak over here. Samsung Japan was unable to provide any specific information and instead recommended speaking directly with the local carriers.